A new study commissioned by Cintas Corporation found that nearly one in three American adults are unlikely to dine at a restaurant where someone they know had slipped and fallen.
The study, conducted by Harris Interactive, found that 30 percent of more than 1,000 adults surveyed were “very unlikely” or “somewhat unlikely” to dine at restaurants where such accidents occur.
David Collette, director of marketing and strategy for Cintas Foodservice, says too many operators don't have clear processes in place to prevent against slip-and-fall accidents.
“They know there’s a problem, they know that people slip—in the front of the house it’s the customers, and in the back of the house, their employees,” he says. “But one of the things we found, particularly in foodservice operations, is … the focus of their life is the customer experience around the food.
“So they worry about the way their place looks and how pretty the floor is, how good the food is. When they get to the facilities services side, that’s when they start to fall apart.”
According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), more than 1 million foodservice customers and 3 million foodservice employees are injured each year after slipping at restaurants.
Further, the NFSI found that the foodservice industry spends more than $2 billion on slip-and-fall injuries each year.
Collette says slip-and-fall accidents aren’t just costly in terms of losing customers, but they can also potentially be costly in legal expenses. This is especially true for mom and pop restaurants or small chains.
“A slip and fall at a small restaurant where they actually get sued and lose can literally wipe out all of their profits for a year-plus,” he says.
To protect themselves, Collette says, operators should have a safe floor program in place and commit just as much attention to these types of facilities issues as they would their food.
“Just like you can fatally wound someone with a food infection, you can really hurt somebody if they slip on the floor,” he says.
By Sam Oches