Pub and bar toilets among UK’s dirtiest, research finds

19/02/2018 - 08:49
UK consumers have identified pubs, bars and nightclubs as some of the worst offenders for poor quality toilet facilities, according to a new report.

Research from laminate manufacturer, Formica Group, found that 40% of people felt pubs and bars have the worst toilets, with 35% naming nightclubs. Only train toilets were considered to be worse.

Restaurants were generally considered to have good toilets with only 7% citing a bad experience in them.

Outlined in a report titled ‘Lifting the Lid on Washrooms’, respondents felt that restaurants (15%) and bars (17%) could improve by offering more toilets. This compared favourably to shopping centres, where over two out of five (41%) highlighted a lack of facilities.

In regards to waiting times, women reported much longer waits to use the facilities than men. 41% of men reported having to wait less than 30 seconds to use the loo but 58% of women reported waiting up to two minutes. And a further 22% of women wait between three and four minutes to go. 

Overall, the main concerns when using public toilets were cited as hygiene (66%), lack of facilities such as paper and soap (54%) and lack of privacy (41%). 

Three quarters of respondents said that a clean toilet is the most important decorative and interior consideration for public bathrooms while two thirds of people (66%) regularly decide not to use a loo because “it looks dirty”.

Those polled said they would defy social convention and use a disabled toilet, even if they are not disabled. More than a fifth of respondents (21%) felt that disabled toilets are more hygienic than standard ones.

Other findings included that only 36% of people said they were comfortable with gender neutral toilets with four in ten of respondents saying this was because of requiring a safe space to go to the toilet.

Some of the most popular requests that consumers made in the report included a hands free flush (60%), better soundproofing (32%) and a faster flush filling system (29%).

When it comes to those getting it right, Wetherspoon pubs scored highly with many respondents saying how clean the toilets tended to be. McDonalds was also cited for having good facilities. 

Joe Bell, UK marketing manager, Formica Group, said: “With huge competition in the hospitality sector, the state of an establishment’s toilets can make or break the overriding experience and influence whether a customer returns or not. It is also this type of scenario that ends up on social media, damaging a brand’s reputation.  

“With hygiene paramount in the dining-out sector, clean toilets should be second nature. Small adjustments to the design, fixtures and fittings can help flush away poor perceptions and restore public confidence by making washrooms more pleasant environments”.

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