Cleanliness in a restaurant is more important than most people realize. Aside from the obvious health codes and issues, the cleanliness perception of the customer is formed in areas not usually considered. Increase your customer satisfaction and loyalty of your patrons by paying close attention to the cleanliness of your establishment each and every day.
When one area of the establishment is not perceived as clean, then the mind starts to wander as to if the kitchen is as clean as it should be. Once the patrons start questioning how clean the kitchen is, no amount of good customer service or good tasting food is going to make up for the mental images of dirty kitchens, utensils, and poor hygiene. Ingrain cleanliness and neatness into your staff training whenever possible.
The areas listed below are common areas that we all see, but become so used to them that dirt and dust start to become “common” and go unnoticed by personnel, but not customers. Customers are unconsciously noticing these areas and the various signals begin to form an impression in their minds. Once that impression is formed, the unconscious mind will start to form that positive or negative “feeling” that will determine if that customer returns to your eatery.
Wash your hands – Restrooms are the first place that patrons begin to recognize that cleanliness may be an issue. It is the law in all states that all staff in restaurants wash their hands with soap and water before returning to work. Patrons will start to mentally connect the dots that if the restroom, sinks, and towels are unclean or missing, quite possibly, hands that will soon be touching their food or utensils are not clean.
See the “Light” – Light fixtures above tables tend to collect dust. Over time, the dust adds up and falls onto the table below. If the dust above the eating surface is not taken care of, how much care is being taken in the cleaning and maintenance of the kitchen and food storage?
Crumbs or “dry” liquid stains on table surfaces – Any food crumbs or liquid spills not cleaned up right away will deter a patron from wanting to sit at a particular table. If there are no clean tables available, it sends the message that cleanliness and appearances are not high priorities in this restaurant. Again, if cleanliness is not important in the dining area, how clean is the kitchen behind those closed swinging doors?
Dress to impress – Like it or not, people make immediate impressions about us from the way we are dressed. The uniforms and appearance of the wait staff will unconsciously send a message to your patrons about the cleanliness of the kitchen. Staff that look uniformly well groomed, neat, clean, and in matching attire convey the image that this is a restaurant that holds image important. If image is important and the wait staff is clean, the patron will make the unconscious assumption that the kitchen and utensils are clean as well.
One image or impression is noted as a “dot” in the brain. When enough “dots” are made, then they will form a pattern. Be sure to make the experience of your diners more enjoyable by enabling them to enjoy delicious food and excellent customer service, rather than wondering how clean the environment their food is prepared in.