UK consumers favour disabled toilets over ‘dirty conventional’ ones

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People in the UK are choosing to use disabled toilets ahead of conventional ones in pubs, bars and restaurants, because the latter toilets are considered to be unhygienic by 40% of people.

That’s according to a new report, which sheds new light on the state of the hospitality sector’s public toilets.

Hygiene was considered so important to people in the survey that respondents said they would defy social convention and use a disabled toilet, even if they themselves were not disabled.

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More than a fifth of respondents (21%) felt that disabled toilets are more hygienic than standard ones, according to laminate manufacturer, Formica Group’s report.

Hospitality operators have some of the worst toilets, according to respondents, but train toilets come bottom of the pile.

When asked where they encountered the worst toilets, 40% of people said pubs and bars, and more than a third said nightclubs (35%). Restaurants were generally considered to have good loos with only 7% citing a bad experience in these environments.

Both sexes overwhelmingly believe shopping centres have the fewest loos to cater for the numbers of visitors, with trains next (36%) and bars third (17%). These are all places where space is at a premium, and where there is temptation to fit in a few more shops, tables, passengers, or seats, rather than extra amenities.

Some of the most popular requests that consumers have made include 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 loos.

Joe Bell, UK marketing manager at Formica Group, commented: “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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