Recently I took my car to my local garage for a MOT, the while-you-wait type, and while I was waiting, I needed to answer the call of nature. The garage itself was typical of these kinds of places, on an industrial estate on the edge of town. When I have had to avail myself of the facilities in these type of locations before, it’s been a memorable experience for all the wrong reasons; filthy, smelly, no soap or hot water, you know the type.
How wrong was I this time as the toilet facilities would not have been out of place in an elegant hotel; sparklingly clean, fresh flowers, hand lotion even clean hand towels. In a garage situation, this attention to customers shouted ‘we care about you and your car’. Compare this to some of the eating establishments we all visit, where the message is more pointed and shouts – ‘if you think this toilet is dirty you should see our kitchens’.
Now I said at the beginning that you all know this already but when was the last time you looked at your toilets as a marketing asset? Spending just a small amount on improving the first impressions gathered by your guests is a sure fire way of telling them that you care about them. You take pride in your establishment, the opposite to the previous message. Small things like fresh flowers, hand cream, a shiny bin, big mirrors and coat hooks make a big impression and cost little. Having a robust system in place is essential to maintain them throughout the day. How many times have we all seen the toilet checklist on the wall not filled out? Not only will this separate you from your competition, but it will also be good for business.
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Andrew & Claire Bowen are the authors of 'The Daily Grind - how to open & run a coffee shop that makes money' Available on Amazon, and Founders of Cafe Success www.cafesuccesshub.com - the ultimate resource site for coffee shop, cafe and tea room owners worldwide.
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