Your Restaurant

Your Restaurant's Cleanliness Perception is as Critical as the Reality

Amy Stokes


By Amy Stokes

Marketing Associate II, Foodservice at GOJO

In the eyes of guests, proper hand hygiene in the restaurant environment is as much about the image of cleanliness as it is the germ-killing reality. Offering the special touch of hand sanitizer dispensers at restroom exits provides psychological assurance that the restaurant’s owner operator is taking that extra step to protect the health of guests and to assure the cleanliness of the establishment.

Cleanliness is crucial to any establishment’s survival, and guests’ perception of cleanliness can make or break its reputation. In one study of what matters most to restaurant visitors1, the categories “Clean and Neat Employees” and “Clean and Safe Restaurant” came up as the two most important attributes of a good dining experience. No other factor even came close.

Another study showed that the cleanliness of the dining area is perceived to be of greater importance than many other factors2, including “Speed of Service” and the “Clean Appearance of the Building’s Exterior.” From this, you can conclude that the image of cleanliness means more than the establishment’s aesthetic appeal or even the quality of its service!

The bad news is that guests rarely give restaurant operators a warning that their confidence is slipping. The hidden risk for restaurateurs is that when guests perceive a dining establishment to be unclean, a whopping 79 percent leave without complaining, and 70.5 percent are hesitant to return3. So think of guest reaction toward uncleanliness as being any restaurant’s “silent killer.” Hand sanitizers in restrooms also give guests an extra level of confidence that foodservice employees are doing all they can to fight germs. This is even more important to an establishment’s image.

Restaurant employees aren’t washing as much as they should. In a busy establishment, they might feel they don’t have enough time, or that the soap will dry out their skin, among other reasons. GOJO offers a science-based handwash/hand sanitize regimen for restrooms and back-of-house operations that starts with the soothing appeal of foam hand soap. Both MICRELL® Antibacterial Foam Handwash and GOJO® Luxury Antibacterial Foam Handwash offer superior efficacy in the foodservice environment and are gentle on the skin, which encourages usage.

Use either hand soap in conjunction with PURELL® Advanced Hand Sanitizer in manual or third-generation touch-free dispensers. PURELL Advanced Hand Sanitizer meets the Food Code Hand Sanitizer criteria (section 2-301.16) published by the FDA referring to its importance in a complete hand hygiene regimen of handwashing and hand sanitizing for the foodservice worker. PURELL Advanced Hand Sanitizer kills 99.99 percent of germs that can cause illness and helps reduce the risk of foodborne illness while increasing the confidence of diners.

The Refillable Bulk Soap Threat

Restaurant operators attempting to cut costs should avoid the siren call of refillable bulk soap. A refillable bulk dispenser is one where the soap is poured into the top of the dispenser, into an open reservoir. Because the reservoir is open, bacteria can contaminate the soap which leads to a bacterial biofilm on the inside of the dispenser. A biofilm is groups of bacteria that coat surfaces and are difficult to wash off or kill. Because the biofilm is formed on the inside of the dispenser it leads to bacterial contamination of new soap added to the dispenser. Studies have shown that one in four refillable bulk soap dispensers is contaminated with bacteria from the environment4—contaminants that can even include fecal matter.

There are several reasons for the high contamination risk, including permanent nozzles that are rarely cleaned and the ease of accidentally introducing bacteria into the reservoir. The bottom line is that hands—including those of foodservice workers—can have 25 times more germs after washing with contaminated soap than before washing.5

The safe alternative is the SANITARY SEALED™ soap system. SANITARY SEALED refills are sealed at the factory to lock out germs. Every new soap refill, which comes with a fresh nozzle, snaps quickly and easily in place for minimal labor time and mess-free operation. There’s no bacterial contamination, no health risk and nothing but a positive, image-enhancing experience for guests.

To learn more about visit GOJO Hand Hygiene Foodservice.

Amy Stokes, Marketing Associate for the Foodservice market at GOJO Industries in Akron Ohio, can be contacted at (330) 255-6252 or stokesa@gojo.com.

1, 2 Results based on nationwide survey of 1,508 individuals, conducted in March, 2005 by GOJO Industries. The expected range of error at 95%. Confidence level for any one question is +/- 1.1% to +/- 2.5%.
3 Nations Restaurant News, 2007
4 Chattman M. Maxwell S, Gerba, C. 2011, Occurrence of heterotrophic and coliform bacteria in liquid hand soaps from bulk refillable dispensers in public facilities. J Environ Health, 73(7): 26-29
5 Zapka C, Campbell E, Maxwell S, Gerba C, Dolan M, Arbogast J, Macinga D, 2011. Bacterial hand contamination and transfer after use of contaminated bulk-soap-refillable dispensers. Appl Environ Microbio. 77(9): 2898-2904.

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Contact Information

Contact: Kelly Ward-Smith, Public Relations Senior Manager

Phone Number: 330-255-6293
Mobile Phone: 330-819-8638

Email: SmithKe@GOJO.com

This contact information is for news media only. For other inquiries, please contact GOJO customer service at 1-800-321-9647 or use the GOJO Contact Us form.