The average Canadian household spends about $2,000 per year eating in restaurants, and it is the number one preferred activity for spending time with family and friends. With more than 97,000 locations, the Canadian restaurant industry is vast and generates $85 billion in annual sales. Canadians have a personal and frequent connection to the restaurant industry, but what is it that keeps customers coming back to individual restaurants?
Some would argue the food is what makes a restaurant shine. Others might say it comes down to customer service and attention to detail. But the answer may be found in the washrooms. After all, the state of a restaurant’s washrooms can often reflect the state of its kitchen.
In fact, the annual Canada’s Best Restroom® contest shines a spotlight on businesses that invest in the washroom experience. Every year, restaurants and other businesses throughout the country are nominated and named top finalists and winners, for their unique washroom designs and cleanliness. The winner of the contest receives $2,500 in Cintas facility services and a lifetime of bragging rights. Last year, two beloved Canadian restaurants made the cut.
Anh and Chi, located in Vancouver, BC, is known as a vibrant, cultured and hip hub to eat, drink and connect over Vietnamese fare. Its washroom transports guests to a tropical rainforest with its Martinique wallpaper, mirroring Vietnam’s lush jungles. With gold faucets, a sleek communal sink made of cement, and custom-made doors, this washroom often causes guests to take a step back and admire the room. If that’s not enough, guests will find special touches like candles and aroma reeds within the private and fully enclosed stalls.
Traveling east to Ontario, another Canadian restaurant was selected as a Canada’s Best Restroom® finalist. Oretta, a new Italian restaurant located in downtown Toronto, boasts sky-high arched ceilings, zig-zag patterned walls and floors and an elaborate golden staircase that leads to a wall of navy blue doors. Behind each door are private washrooms that alternate in black and white marbled walls and feature modern fixtures like a bright globe light and an oval mirror. Known on social media as an Instagram haven, which has quickly become a fast growing way for restaurants to attract customers, Oretta offers several unique areas to snap a perfect selfie.
Over the last nine years, several Canadian restaurants and businesses have been recognized in the Canada’s Best Restroom® contest. To be named a finalist is no simple task. After sifting through an impressive list of nominees, it all comes down to five important factors:
- Cleanliness. From squeaky-clean floors to unclogged sinks to streak-free mirrors, the contest seeks top-to-bottom cleanliness. With nearly two million Canadians contracting foodborne illnesses every year while eating out, restaurant cleanliness is incredibly important. If the washroom looks as though it hasn’t been cleaned in days or has several clogged pipes and messy floors, customers may assume the kitchen isn’t in great shape either.
- Visual appeal. Many restaurants have standard restrooms with little to no visual appeal. But this contest recognizes and celebrates businesses that go above and beyond behind the washroom doors by adding wacky wallpaper, artistic décor, modern mirrors and more to make guests feel welcome.
- Innovation. Updating washrooms with the newest eco-friendly and automatic appliances not only enhances customer satisfaction but improves the bottom line. Touch-free amenities, such as faucets, paper towel dispensers and toilets can also help prevent the spread of germs, improving overall cleanliness.
- Functionality. If you’ve ever visited a washroom with tight corners, cramped stalls, dim lights or empty dispensers, you know how important a functional facility can be. The Canada’s Best Restroom® contest always looks for washrooms that offer guests a spacious, comfortable and convenient space.
- Unique design. In the end, restrooms with intricate design work will take the cake. The contest seeks washrooms that serve not only as a necessity, but as a conversation piece.
While the contest is quirky and fun, it also promotes a serious message: Businesses that maintain clean, well-stocked and decorated washrooms communicate to guests that cleanliness and customer satisfaction is their top priority. Most of all, clean washrooms can keep customers coming back.
Does your restaurant have a washroom worth bragging about? If you think your unique facility has what it takes to be crowned Canada’s Best Restroom, make sure to nominate it for this year’s contest. Nominations are accepted year-round at www.bestrestroom.com/Canada.