First impressions matter.

During an online seminar on cleanliness, Procter & Gamble Professional reported that more than six in 10 quick-serve diners say if a restaurant is clean, they will dine there more often.

In the presentation, T.J. Schier, president of Smart Restaurant Group, a Which Wich authorized franchisee, says the cleanliness of a restaurants enhances consumers' first impressions and encourages repeat visits.

“When a guest walks in, they can see right away how clean [Which Wich is],” Schier says. “As they come in and approach the restaurant, obviously…their first impression will play a key role in how they’re going to perceive the business to be.”

“If we have a dirty front of the house, the guest is going to perceive that the back of the house is even worse,” Schier says, adding that keeping a restaurant clean should be a priority for any quick serve seeking positive consumer perceptions.

Craig Monsell, manager of research and development for Procter & Gamble Professional, says the top factors driving consumer satisfaction and consumer confidence and comfort in a quick-serve restaurant are dining room and restroom cleanliness, having a responsible manager visible, and the absence of trash in the restaurant.

Schier finds that consumers’ assessments of cleanliness directly affect other consumer perceptions, too, including service score, staff appearance, atmosphere, and service speed ratings.

“In this day and age where it’s very, very competitive in the foodservice segment, you really, really need to be on top of cleanliness 100 percent because it has a huge halo effect on the taste of your food, the perception of your service, the speed of your service, and so on,” Schier says.

“The meal is always something more than a meal,” Monsell says. “It’s some down time during the day. It’s some social time with friends and family. The dining room is the setting for that, and so orderliness in the dining room is a key thing.”

Monsell also says that restroom cleanliness is a must because it can be “a huge environmental signal both to how clean the restaurant is and how comfortable [customers] are going to be able to be for the rest of their visit.”

By Mary Avant

Business Advice, Consumer Trends, News, Restaurant Operations