Are your toilets being abused?

With the decline in local public toilet facilities provided by the councils, your local coffee shop is the favourite destination of many people needing to answer the call of nature and a lot of them think it ok to not buy anything from you.

The problem is that every time someone uses your toilet it costs you money and is a part of your overhead that is often not covered by a matching purchase, as a growing number of people believe it ok to use your facilities even though they don’t buy anything from you.

Have you calculated the cost of each flush to you, water in, water out, maintenance repairs, staff cost to clean, cleaning chemicals, toilet roll, air freshener, hand drier electricity, opportunity cost of the space used. 30p a flush is not an unrealistic estimate.

Of course, to add insult to injury, you are already paying for the provision of a public toilet in your business rates as well.

How can you manage the need of your guests, whilst reducing abuse? We need to provide a toilet facility for our guests and locks and codes will make their lives harder, but conversely abuse by non-customers will also prevent them using the facilities and often lead to less clean toilets as well.

There are a number of different points of view, with some owners happy to allow everyone to use their toilet in the hope that a % of people will purchase something, others keep it locked and only available via a code or a key from the till, thus causing some inconvenience to their real guests. Signage doesn’t seem to work and charging is not really appropriate, so what can we do?

We have put together a quick 5 question survey and we’d like to find out how you manage this important issue in your business. When you complete the survey, we will send you the summary of the results.

Please click here to go to the survey



About the authors

Andrew and Claire Bowen have run their own coffee shops for the last decade starting as franchisees and moving to develop their own independent business. The knowledge and experience gained from this have been used in the development of Café Success – the UK’s best resource for a coffee shop, café and tearoom owners. Free to Join at it is growing to cover all aspects of setting up and running a coffee business. Please link in with them and join the Coffee Shop Owners of the UK discussion group on linked in.

Coffee shop location guide, cafe, tea room

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