Restaurant Cleanliness: How Technology Is Changing the Game

Every diner wants a clean experience, and every restaurant wants to make the grade.  In fact, cleanliness has been found to be more important than customer service. A survey from Checkit reported 66 percent of consumers cited bad food hygiene as why they would not return to a restaurant.[1]

With more savvy diners and more choices than ever, restaurants need to step up their cleanliness practices. In an advanced world, how will technology impact a restaurant’s cleanliness factor?

Restrooms are many times the weak link in cleanliness and a bad bathroom experience can mean lost business. Keeping bathrooms clean can be assisted with some help from an interactive touchscreen.

Restaurants, from quick-service to casual dining, could benefit from touchscreen displays in restrooms. This would enable two important things: feedback and alerts.

For feedback, restaurants could simply ask bathroom users to rate the cleanliness of the space. This offers a continuous scoring system, delivering insights on when the bathroom is the least clean so that more attention can be paid in these circumstances.

A touchscreen could also alert employees when a bathroom is in disarray. With a quick touch of the screen, employees are advised that the bathroom needs a refresh.

Review site Yelp allows diners to rate just about everything in a restaurant, including its cleanliness. By including this on a Yelp review, prospective diners get full disclosure. Users can even add “customer alerts for food safety scores” for a small portion of San Francisco restaurants. Additionally, current scores are included for many restaurants on Yelp all over the country.

The “alert,” from other customers, has since been shown to reduce a customer’s intention to visit by 21 percent, according to a Harvard Business School paper.[2]

This supports the power of “word of mouth,” which now is not so much about talking as it is typing. Restaurants now have to be concerned about their digital reputation on cleanliness.

As the use of the Internet of Things (IoT) increases, restaurants could begin to see smarter equipment. Technology could soon self-report its cleanliness and when it was last cleaned and serviced.

[1] https://www.checkit.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/The_Financial_Impact_of_Getting_Food_Safety_Wrong.pdf

[2] https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3131900