Not used to issues like this, are you?
It raises an uncomfortable question – not for you, for your customers.
Because right up front, how many of them wash their hands before they eat?
“Ew Factor” could cost you thousands
But you already know the answer – can probably say exactly how many guests get up from their table before food is served and go to the restroom.
Yeah, right. A handful maybe, depending on the size of your place. Certainly not everybody, your restroom’s not that big. And all those people moving around at once would upset the other diners – never mind your staff twisting through with hot plates.
Which means everybody else is straight in off the street and you don’t know where they’ve been. Or more to the point, where their hands have been.
OK, so put yourself in their shoes, what do you reckon?
Did they wash before leaving work? After their ride in the taxi/Underground? And if not, what were they doing before that? What did they touch?
Or to stop the pussy-footing, what’s on their fingers RIGHT NOW that could give them collywobbles if they swallowed it?
Collywobbles meaning norovirus, or some equally unpleasant bug spread by direct contact.
Poo on their fingers
Yeah, they call it the “winter vomiting bug” and other round-the-houses names – but the elephant in the room is that it spreads from unwashed hands. And unwashed hands in a food business like yours is an unspeakable but major problem.
Not staff hands, CUSTOMER hands – because they’re the ones touching everything and actually going into mouths.
Sure, your own staff need to be careful too – but they know the odds. Poor hygiene, bad rep, nasty lawsuits, shut the business, no more job. Not worth the risk.
Not like your customers.
Yeah, sure – loyal to you, enthusiastic about the experience you offer, nice enough on the surface.
Except like most of us, they don’t take criticism – and certainly would never accept it’s THEIR dirty hands that made them ill, not something wrong with your food.
They’re customers, see? Never wrong. And probably in denial that their personal hygiene is ever less than perfect. Like, their hands don’t LOOK dirty, do they?
Push comes to shove, it’s likely they’ll win any court case, even though it’s probably their own fault.
How can we dare to say this?
Because when you look at the facts, our day-to-day hygiene is so bad, it’s a wonder we’re not ALL of us in hospital with dysentery or something worse.
- 95% of people don’t wash their hands properly.
- 62% of men and 40% of women NEVER wash their hands after going to the toilet.
- Only 12% of people wash their hands before eating.
So there you are, busting a gut, doing everything to make your food safe and your place spotless. And there’s Mr Money-Bags, all too ready to squawk at the slightest hiccup, let alone tummy-ache – sitting posh as you like, quite probably with poo on his hands.
Or just as likely, on the cash or credit card he’s going to shove at you at the end of the meal.
Food poisoning? Yeah, pull the other one.
Except there’s not a lot you can do is there? Certainly not diss your customers or lay blame on them. And there’s no way you can FORCE them to the restroom.
How to start winning
But you can get ahead of the game. Turn it round and make it work for you.
Remember the last time YOU went on a splurge? Hit some swanky restaurant or flew first class – swanning around like you owned the place, at least for one night?
OK, remember the hot towels? All terribly la-di-da, offered to you with white gloves and a pair of tongs – a courtesy to wipe your hands and face.
Right, so you pull the same stunt.
Only instead of hot towels, YOU offer YOUR guests individual sachets of antiseptic hand wipes. Mr Money-Bags is not going to refuse is he? Mrs Money-Bags will probably even open it for him. And your staff look like paragons of virtue – especially with a silver tray to collect the used wipes afterwards
Which means if either of them has poo on their hands, the problem has gone away. Food poisoning isn’t going to happen because you’ve removed the cause. And your customers think you’re a million dollars for being so thoughtful.
To ram it home, you pull the stunt even further. Sterilise the whole place so guests know you’re serious about offering a good experience and caring for their welfare.
No more viruses or bacteria anywhere in the treated areas. Not on tables, chairs, glasses, cutlery, light fittings, anything – not even in the air around them. Safe, secure, sterilised for your protection.
Customers still trying it on?
We don’t think so. Not unless there really IS something off with your food.
But somehow, you’re not likely to let that happen.
Picture Copyright: citalliance / 123RF Stock Photo