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Moms and dads hold restaurants to a higher standard of clean

Photograph: Shutterstock

Providing booster seats, high chairs and bathroom changing tables, designing a kid-friendly menu and providing coloring books at the table: Those are all smart ideas for operators that want to attract families. But all those things won’t matter if a restaurant seems to be slipping on the cleanliness front.

Operators can help provide parents some peace of mind by doubling down on the surfaces kids have the most contact with: seats, restrooms and play areas.

Booster seats and high chairs

A clean restaurant is a high priority for all diners, ranking among consumers’ top three considerations when deciding where to eat, Technomic’s 2017 Value and Pricing Consumer Trend Report found. And it may be even more important to millennials: According to a Choice Hotels study, some 61% of them carry hand sanitizer when they travel. Imagine how those millennials, many of them now parents, will react to the sight of food spills, diaper leaks and other signs of neglect in the very seat their precious cargo will be occupying.

A clean table and chairs or booth seats are a given, but making a special show of thoroughly cleaning and properly sanitizing booster seats and high chairs will go a long way toward helping parents feel confident that their business is valued. Showing you care by using disposable wipes in a closed sanitizing system, instead of an open bucket with a worn and dirty cloth, can help boost that confidence.

Bathrooms

Parents often dread a trip to a public restroom, and many of them go to heroic lengths to ensure their kids touch as little as possible. Operators that make the experience less stressful can end up looking like heroes.

Obvious points of contact include toilet seats and sinks. Toilet seat covers help allay parents’ anxiety and prevent them from having to layer toilet tissue on the seat. At the sink, touchless faucets and dispensers win points and encourage kids to wash their hands. A kid-height sink or step that allows younger patrons to reach the faucets helps, too. And touchless towel dispensers eliminate yet another point of contact and minimize potential waste.

A less-obvious cause for concern is restroom floors. Young children have no qualms about crawling around, so keeping floors as clean and dry as possible in the restroom is essential.

For convenience and hygienic reasons, both men’s and women’s rooms should have well-functioning changing tables. Because a baby’s bare skin might come in contact with the surface, it’s important to keep these tables as pristine as possible. Providing a ready supply of sanitary bed liners is a must. So is regular monitoring to ensure the tables get cleaned and sanitized throughout the day, just as toilet stalls are checked. Use a solution that is recommended for both cleaning and sanitizing. And using a closed-system dispenser with quat-compatible wipes can help you sanitize effectively every time.

Play areas

Playground equipment manufacturer Soft Play recommends frequent wipe downs of equipment using a damp cloth and mild detergent. In addition, Soft Play suggests a daily three-step process to clean and sanitize: soap and water to remove dirty and sticky substances; use of non-toxic cleaning products labeled as safe for the equipment and meant to sanitize and kill germs; and use of a non-toxic disinfectant. The manufacturer also recommends spot cleaning and sanitizing throughout the day as needed, especially with heavy traffic.

Accidents happen. If any body fluids end up in the play area, that section, if not the entire play area, should be taken out of commission until it can be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

Attention to details like this that matter to parents can go a long way toward winning their loyalty.

This post is sponsored by Georgia-Pacific, manufacturer of GP PRO and Dixie® brand solutions

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