Should You Open Customer Washrooms to the Public?

Should You Open Customer Washrooms to the Public?

Starbucks recently announced that toilets in their cafes will now be open to anyone, regardless of whether they are a paying customer. The move comes in the wake of a recent scandal in Philadelphia, but what’s most interesting is how this could revolutionise how the big chains serve local communities.

Durability is key in any washroom, particularly those that see a high footfall. With organisations striving to maintain sleek aesthetics as well as anti-vandal properties, the manufacturing industry has seriously upped its design game in recent years.

This has allowed businesses like Starbucks and Pret A Manger to achieve their consistent, inviting, and comfortable interior design both front of the house and in the washrooms. With the build quality so high, not a lot is likely to change by opening customer washrooms to the public other than that cleaning rotas may need to be increased, and the footfall past the counter is likely to spike, which can be a very positive result. The worry that drug users may begin using the facilities for ill purpose remains, but daily access codes may still be used where this poses a problem.

So should other businesses follow suit?

Well, that depends, but the opportunity that arises from serving your local area with access to your facilities can generate a lot of goodwill and is likely to bring a higher footfall past the counter where signage, offers, and other marketing can be seen. 

Pub chains like JD Wetherspoon have left the decision to their individual operators. But while providing a community service to those caught short, or dealing with chronic issues like Chron’s disease, there is a duty of care to users regardless of whether they are a customer or not. Public liability insurance should cover this, but you’ll need to have a check. In any case, public access is still down to the discretion of the site manager or operator as long as it is not on discriminatory grounds. 

What do I need to consider if I’m thinking about opening up my washroom facilities?

Anti-vandal and anti-ligature features are of course some of the most important factors, preventing people from being able to cause damage to your washroom or harming themselves. With increased footfall, you may want to think about making your facilities easier to clean and schedule a deep clean more frequently. Sensor activation can be a very successful way of doing this as a user does not need to touch toilet flusherssoap dispensers, taps, or dryers which significantly reduces the spread of dirt and bacteria. Sensor activated PIR lighting can also remove the need to touch a light switch too.

Restaurant Toilet Room

If you’d like further advice on improving the durability and anti-vandal nature of your washroom facilities, get in touch with the Commercial Washrooms team today on 01202 650600.

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