Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Bathroom Parade, how to manage it?


Edward J
 Share

Recommended Posts

The only reason I ever go to McDonald's for is to use their restroom. For the most part, McDonald's restrooms are unreasonably clean for being a such a shithole establishment. Hell, one of the pieces of advice I give to people traveling to Europe for this first time is "McDonald's is your friend." Not for the food, but because they just tend to have clean, accessible, Western style restrooms.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

The only reason I ever go to McDonald's for is to use their restroom. For the most part, McDonald's restrooms are unreasonably clean for being a such a shithole establishment. Hell, one of the pieces of advice I give to people traveling to Europe for this first time is "McDonald's is your friend." Not for the food, but because they just tend to have clean, accessible, Western style restrooms.

YES!!!!!

That's exactly the attitude I was talking about. Use the facilities, don't spend a dime there, and take a cheap swipe at them as well (ie "such a sh*thole establishment). And then emphatically insist everyone else do the same as you

Yeah, I "did" Europe too, but that was back in the 80's and back the Fench wouldn't even think about opening a Mc D's. Pay toilets all over the place in Europe, and clean too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I too wont order til after. If I've been driven into your place by need, I dont have the capacity to read the menu and place an order first.

I probably wont make eye contact on the way in, because your staff look busy and I dont want to interrupt them.

If there were a grocery or hardware store, pay toilet or other option, I wouldnt be darkening the doors of a small coffee shop. But I would remember if I had need and were treated abruptly, in the absence of these other options.

But mostly, its a numbers thing. 2 an hour = a possible problem. 2 a day? how do you even notice?

How about black light as in Scotland?

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

I'm in the "leave bathrooms open" camp. Many times, when I have to go, I'll use the bathroom first -- and then buy something. If the bathroom is not readily accessible, I'll simply leave and find someplace that has the bathroom open to the public. Therefore, theso business with a closed bathroom will lose a sale. In addition, if I really have to go, I don't want to carry my pastry or coffee into the bathroom - or try and eat it while being uncomfortable, visiting the bathroom after I've finished. I won't ask for a key if I haven't bought anything as I feel very self-conscious doing so (feeling like the clerk is looking at me like a freeloader if I haven't yet bought anything). Finally, I would DEFINITELY not go back to someplace that chided me for using their bathroom.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Canadian law is just a wee bit different.

In any case I can't operate with liability insurance, and I can't get that without grab-bars on the walls, non-slip floors, pneumatic door closers, bathroom fan, and adequate lighting. Oh, and t.p. ......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Both sides can be equally rude in a situation like this. The ones that walk in without speaking may well just be trying to avoid a conflict with the staff, at least until the get a little relief. And it's not rude if they don't know that you'd welcome them if they ask - it's not required everywhere, how would they know how you feel about it?

I am firmly on the side of open bathrooms in spaces that are open to the public if there's no great burden.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sounds like the sign may be the way to go.

To those grossed out by the key and key-fob, why not wash the thing when you wash your hands?

Soap works on pvc pipe and key metal just as it works on your hands.

Or hold it with a piece of paper towel.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm in the "leave bathrooms open" camp. Many times, when I have to go, I'll use the bathroom first -- and then buy something. If the bathroom is not readily accessible, I'll simply leave and find someplace that has the bathroom open to the public. Therefore, theso business with a closed bathroom will lose a sale. In addition, if I really have to go, I don't want to carry my pastry or coffee into the bathroom - or try and eat it while being uncomfortable, visiting the bathroom after I've finished. I won't ask for a key if I haven't bought anything as I feel very self-conscious doing so (feeling like the clerk is looking at me like a freeloader if I haven't yet bought anything). Finally, I would DEFINITELY not go back to someplace that chided me for using their bathroom.

Yup, agree with all of the above. Be nice about it, and you are going to gain some business. I think more people than not will buy something after using the bathroom.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always buy something, in even a McD's, if I only want to use the restroom (unless I've been to that place and ordered something many times before). But I buy it after; I wouldn't be there if it wasn't urgent. I'll buy a small soda on the way out and toss it in the trash if I'm afraid it will make me have to pee again too soon.

Edited by lame username (log)

Inventing the Universe

Here in the South, we don't hide crazy. We parade it on the front porch and give it a cocktail.

The devil is in the details but God is in the fat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it really depends on your neighborhood. If I'm a customer and your washroom is being used by street people who don't look very clean, I'm going to get skeeved out and prolly not use your washroom...and maybe think twice about coming to your place. A key behind the counter would be perfectly acceptable to me in that situation and make me feel much more comfy about using the facilities.

If you don't have that kind of traffic, then I'd prefer not to have to ask at the counter for a key (or code, etc.).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm in the "leave bathrooms open" camp. Many times, when I have to go, I'll use the bathroom first -- and then buy something. If the bathroom is not readily accessible, I'll simply leave and find someplace that has the bathroom open to the public. Therefore, theso business with a closed bathroom will lose a sale. In addition, if I really have to go, I don't want to carry my pastry or coffee into the bathroom - or try and eat it while being uncomfortable, visiting the bathroom after I've finished. I won't ask for a key if I haven't bought anything as I feel very self-conscious doing so (feeling like the clerk is looking at me like a freeloader if I haven't yet bought anything). Finally, I would DEFINITELY not go back to someplace that chided me for using their bathroom.

Yup, agree with all of the above. Be nice about it, and you are going to gain some business. I think more people than not will buy something after using the bathroom.

Ehhh... Not really.

Several times in the past few years the Chief Medical Officer of the Vancouver Coastal Health Dept. has appealed to the public on various media and "educated" the public that restaurants are not indebted, coerced or otherwise made to have their washrooms available to the general public, but only to paying customers.

About 50% of the time the following situation happens: Customer walks in and needs to use the washroom and says he will make a purchase. Afterwards they will hem and haw, ask about prices, quality, origin of ingredients, etc, and then walk out. Last week was pretty typical, gentlemen does the "thing," comments that my coffee is fair trade and organic, but not bird friendly, but by the time he started comparing my prices to Starbucks, I salvaged what was left of my patience, cooly looked him the eye and asked him to put some change in the tip jar and just leave. Didn't go over to well.

Two days later, on Sat., he was back--well not exactly. He had parked his car directly in front of my entrance fastened balloons and a realator's "open house" sign on the roof of his car and walked away. My business is located in a small building with 8 commercial units on the street level and 50 condos above. Typical price for a 1 bdrm and den in our building is $280,000.00. The bathroom thingee was long forgotten, but parking in front of my place refreshed my memory. Perhaps it was the red ball,oons. Parking on our street is 1 hr, so I gave him that, and afterwards I called the city to have it ticketed. After another hour I called again to have it towed. As the tow truck driver had the car on his hoist, I called the realator's number that he had so handily proved on the "open house" sign on his car roof. He made it just in time to see his car being towed down the street.

I'd much rather sell chocolates, which is the bread and butter of my business, in fact I'd much rather go wholesale.

But I do have a business to run.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Two days later, on Sat., he was back--well not exactly. He had parked his car directly in front of my entrance fastened balloons and a realator's "open house" sign on the roof of his car and walked away. My business is located in a small building with 8 commercial units on the street level and 50 condos above. Typical price for a 1 bdrm and den in our building is $280,000.00. The bathroom thingee was long forgotten, but parking in front of my place refreshed my memory. Perhaps it was the red ball,oons. Parking on our street is 1 hr, so I gave him that, and afterwards I called the city to have it ticketed. After another hour I called again to have it towed. As the tow truck driver had the car on his hoist, I called the realator's number that he had so handily proved on the "open house" sign on his car roof. He made it just in time to see his car being towed down the street.

Calling him right at that most perfect moment was a nice touch. I liked that.

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, question for those of you in a position to comment: How do you feel about/react to people who come in to your establishment, make a small purchase, then ask about the loo... that being pretty clearly their objective when they walked in the door?

I've got no problem with that whatsoever. It shows a bit of consideration for the shopowner for having maintained their loo in good condition, and for providing it in the first place. I also can't tell you the number of times I've walked into a local ice-creamery, ordered a cone, used the facilities while it's being scooped (they'll hold the cone for me), and come out to collect my order. To me, making the order before using the loo is common courtesy, and I'd only do it the other way round if it was a dire emergency, which shopkeepers here seem to respect. Ecuador's also a bit more open about laughing about bathroom emergencies, rather than getting all uptight about it - if I have to skip ordering in order to speed to the loo, I'll generally make a light joke about it (gosh, you saved my life there!) when I'm out and placing my order.

Then again, Ecuador's laws clearly state that a) all shops larger than 10 square meters, and b) all food establishements regardless of size, must have at least one washroom, and that c) said washroom is for patrons of said establishments. This is generally understood by the public. We've also got pay washrooms in all public parks (10-15 cents per), so it's a mark of terrible planning if you get caught with a need for a toilet and can't find one. Facilities here are maintained sparkling clean, because inspections are at complete random whim, and you can lose your operation licence if your bathroom is even slightly disreputable. I've been in much more skeevy restaurant loos in Canada than I've found here, where even at the most humble, dirt-floor establishements the wc is tiled and scrubbed to within an inch of its life.

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If 50% of the people using your bathroom don't buy something -- that means 50% of them DO buy something -- and probably will come back to buy more. You've gained sales for the price of a toilet flush. Yes, there will be freeloaders in ANY system - but I would not recommend punishing the good people because of a few bad incidents.

Keep in mind, you can count the number of people that used the bathroom and didn't buy things -- but I doubt you can count the number that buy things and never return because they encountered a locked bathroom or received a bad attitude from staff. If I know a business has a locked bathroom, I personally tend to avoid going there.

A locked bathroom is also a sign that the place may have some less than savory characters around. For me, when visiting a large city, it becomes a red flag - particularly during off hours -- that maybe I am not safe in that area.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A locked bathroom is also a sign that the place may have some less than savory characters around. For me, when visiting a large city, it becomes a red flag - particularly during off hours -- that maybe I am not safe in that area.

This is the biggest consideration that I as a consumer have. That usually conjures images of a seedy gas station that reeks of people missing the mark. I am also one of those people who will buy something on the way out just because it's the decent thing to do. I realize that not everyone is decent but I seriously dislike the locked bathrooms. That just makes me feel much less than welcome. A sign is a great way to go because most people will at least buy something out of sheer decency. Your bottom line should reflect that those that don't should be more than compensated by those of us who do!

Seth Mariscal

The Nutty Food Lover

http://www.nuttyfoodlover.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought this thread went dead last year.

In any case I believe I have illustrated some of the challenges I face as a small independent artisan chocolate shop, and I am sure many other operators, don't face the same challenges.

Mjx, yes, I am happy to sell even small items (my cheapest is $1.25). This is why I open for business.

Bigkoiguy, currently I do not "punish" any customers. As I described in the above post, I still do not have locks installed. Some abuse this, and some appreciate it. If you look at some of the other replies in this thread, they range from talk of libel and lawsuit, to insistence that I provide his service--no ifs or buts. It was only Panaderia Canadiese that used the word "respect". That's all I want.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Edward - I didn't mean to imply that you are rude to your customers, but was talking generally as I have run into these type businesses elsewhere.

My viewpoint is this - some people spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on advertising or other incentives to draw people into their shop. Your bathroom is doing this for almost nothing - and some of these drop ins, once exposed to your shop, might become future repeat customers. Once they are there and you have their attention, it is up to you to provide an experience that entices them to shell out a few bucks and try your products. Tolerating the disrespectful, unfortunately, is going to be a part of this.

Edited by bigkoiguy (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ehhh... Not really.

Several times in the past few years the Chief Medical Officer of the Vancouver Coastal Health Dept. has appealed to the public on various media and "educated" the public that restaurants are not indebted, coerced or otherwise made to have their washrooms available to the general public, but only to paying customers.

About 50% of the time the following situation happens: Customer walks in and needs to use the washroom and says he will make a purchase. Afterwards they will hem and haw, ask about prices, quality, origin of ingredients, etc, and then walk out. Last week was pretty typical, gentlemen does the "thing," comments that my coffee is fair trade and organic, but not bird friendly, but by the time he started comparing my prices to Starbucks, I salvaged what was left of my patience, cooly looked him the eye and asked him to put some change in the tip jar and just leave. Didn't go over to well.

Two days later, on Sat., he was back--well not exactly. He had parked his car directly in front of my entrance fastened balloons and a realator's "open house" sign on the roof of his car and walked away. My business is located in a small building with 8 commercial units on the street level and 50 condos above. Typical price for a 1 bdrm and den in our building is $280,000.00. The bathroom thingee was long forgotten, but parking in front of my place refreshed my memory. Perhaps it was the red ball,oons. Parking on our street is 1 hr, so I gave him that, and afterwards I called the city to have it ticketed. After another hour I called again to have it towed. As the tow truck driver had the car on his hoist, I called the realator's number that he had so handily proved on the "open house" sign on his car roof. He made it just in time to see his car being towed down the street.

I'd much rather sell chocolates, which is the bread and butter of my business, in fact I'd much rather go wholesale.

But I do have a business to run.

So, let me get this straight. A guy came into your store to use the bathroom, pretended to be interested in a coffee, but then just left without buying one. And you somehow thought it was, what...funny? cool? your civic duty? revenge? to call and have this guy's car ticketed and towed?

This guy, who obviously does business in your building. Sounds like he sells real estate to people that live ABOVE your business. He is in a position to recommend it to people who are literally within a minute or two walk of your front door, on a daily basis, will walk by your store probably twice a day, and you do that to him.

Sounds like a smart business move. Bet that felt good, get that A-hole who had the audacity to use your bathroom. You certainly aren't over-reacting. Thumbs up, sir.

IMO, you might want to take a look at why this bothers you. Seriously. If you are so pissed off at people for using your bathroom that you somehow feel good about "getting back" at them then I feel sorry for you. If I were you, I would re-prioritize my thinking about it, and look at every person who walks in your door as a potential customer, and stop worrying about if they use the bathroom or not. Even if they don't buy something right then, they might remember you next time they are in the neighborhood and stop by for something. Especially if your store is nice, the display's look yummy, and yeah, even the bathroom is clean. Maybe in a week or two they want/need to buy a box of chocolates for a friend, and they remember how delicious looking yours looked in the display. I mean, I'm assuming your business isn't doing so well that you can afford to alienate a bunch of potential customers.

How can food traffic be bad?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...