Pretty Restrooms – Gain Customers and Retain Employees!

Restrooms at the Cactus Club on Burnaby’s Byrne Road have comfy chairs and television sets. Photograph by: Glenn Baglo, PNG, Vancouver Sun

It is a competitive, globally oriented business world; there are literally millions of organisations and individuals with brilliant ideas, products, and services. How does one stand out and achieve success in such a crowded marketplace?  The answer is proven time and time again – the ones that succeed are the ones that are memorable. What makes memorable?

If you are a restaurant, memorable could mean having chandeliers, TVs and comfy chairs in the washroom.

Cintas Corp., a company whose business it is to make sure public bathrooms are spotless and well-supplied, is asking Canadians to vote on their favourite restroom. Why? Because Cintas has “a pile of information that shows there’s a direct, clear and concise correlation between having clean and appealing restrooms and having a high level of customer retention and satisfaction,” said David Brandt, survey editor of Canada’s Best Restroom Contest.

While in its first year in Canada, the contest has been running since 2002 in the United States and according to David Brandt, it has been wildly successful. The washrooms can be “quirky, thematic, luxurious, anything can make for a great restroom”, he explains.

Two local businesses have made the final five: the Shangri-La Hotel in downtown Vancouver, with its private washrooms featuring two-storey ceilings, crystal chandeliers and lighted mirrors, and the Cactus Club Cafe on Byrne Road in Burnaby, with its comfy chairs and televisions.

To see the restrooms and vote for your favourite, go to www.bestrestroom.com. Voting is open until the end of August and the winner will be announced in September 2010. (Sourced from Vancouver Sun)

After listening to one of Sook-Yin Lee’s “Definitely Not The Opera” (DNTO) episodes on CBC Radio on office bathrooms, we realized that prettying the restroom is more than a trend, with positive effects not only for customers, but for employees as well.

“Office bathrooms are key indicators of a team’s culture” says Kate Runner, a consultant at Adaptive Path (washroom guru). She used the following graphic to look at the different levels of a bathroom experience — from the ”Basics” to a “Cultural Experience”.

After Kate Runner gave the CBC washroom a simple makeover, the results were dramatic. Their experiment proved that having a nicer bathroom can reinforce a positive atmosphere in the workplace. People interacted more, were walking around smiling, felt happier. “It has an affirmative, transformative effect. The small touches change everything – little plants, tic-tacs… it puts me in a better mood, it totally changes my day, it changes everything” one CBC employee explains.

You can listen to the full episode here: http://www.cbc.ca/dnto/2010/05/whats-on-dnto-may-8.html (Sourced from http://www.cbc.ca)



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