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The Dirtiest Spots In U.S. Restaurants

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 7/17/2013

Cintas social media monitoring reveals the dirtiest locations inside U.S. restaurants, highlighting areas of concern for small restaurant owners.

Cleanliest is next to godliness--especially when it comes to the places we eat. But despite the importance of clean dining environments, many restaurants fail to meet customer expectations in the areas of sanitation and even food safety.

Dirty Unsanitary Restaurant

The popularity of social media platforms has given consumers a new venue for voicing their displeasure with the cleanliness of specific establishments. Recently, Cintas conducted a social media study to uncover the top five dirtiest places in restaurants across the U.S. The results of the Cintas study include some surprises and show several ways that restaurant owners can improve revenues and the quality of customer experiences.

Whether you're starting a restaurant or trying to improve an existing one, here are several areas that may require your immediate attention.

  • Floors. Dirty floors drive 68 percent of potential diners out of eating establishments because they represent the customer's first impression of the business. A simple floor care program designed to clean and protect floor surfaces can deliver instant revenue improvements by keeping potential customers from leaving the restaurant.
  • Restrooms. For obvious reasons, clean restrooms are also an important part of the customer experience. Unflushed toilets, filth and a lack of paper supplies are big customer turnoffs, so it's critical to make sure that restrooms are inspected and serviced several times a day.
  • Tables. Customers should never have to clean their own tables. Yet that's exactly what happens in a large number of dining establishments each day. Go the extra mile to make sure that table surfaces are spotless before customers are seated.
  • Staff. Soiled uniforms and inferior personal grooming have no place in a business that serves food for human consumption. Employees need to be fitted and supplied with appropriate uniforms, and provided with a written copy of the company policy regarding their personal appearance.
  • Kitchen. The trend toward open kitchen areas is a double-edged sword for restaurateurs. Although it creates the opportunity for diners to watch as their meals are being prepared, customers can also see examples of unclean or unsafe kitchen behaviors. Regardless of whether or not customers can see your kitchen, make sure that the kitchen area is sanitary and that kitchen staff comply with health codes.

No restaurant is perfect--dirt and debris will inevitably find their way into every dining establishment. But by proactively monitoring the cleanliness of your restaurant and establishing consistent cleaning routines, you can successfully manage customer perceptions and improve the quality of your business's customer experience.

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