What does toilets looking this gross in a restaurant tell you?

Danny Fabricius Fogel

Danny Fabricius Fogel

Sorry in advance for this picture, but it’s perfect for this article.

Since you are still reading this, you clearly want my opinion on the above question. The answer is that the management is measuring staff performance in a completely wrong way.

How do I know this? Here’s the reason:
In most toilets today, there’s a log letting you know when the toilet has been cleaned. The restaurant from where I took this photo had logged a cleaning less than 20 minutes before this picture was taken AND yes, if you zoom in which I do not recommend you will see spots that are older than 20 minutes.
So clearly the above measurement does not prevent the toilet from being gross. The reason that it doesn’t work is that it just shows when an employee registers that they visited the toilet. The employee was most certainly told to clean the toilet and then register it, but the cleaning part clearly didn’t happen yesterday.
There’s nothing measuring exactly what the management wants to know. They want to know if the toilet is clean.

But why even spend time writing about gross toilets? Besides it’s a part of the guest experience and it will have a bad influence on what the guest thinks of the restaurant, it also leads to other wrongful measures done by many companies.

In retail, hospitality, and leisure the employees are measured on how much sales they type into the cash register. It doesn’t measure their sale, but just what they register. No, selling and registering sales are not the same thing. Just like cleaning the toilet and registering it has been cleaned are not the same.

There’s a huge difference between creating the results and registering the results. There’s also a huge difference between efforts and results. Many companies mix those and miss the point.

But if those measures don’t work, how can a restaurant owner then measure staff performance? I have some ideas and our team is working on that, but that’s a story for another blog post. However, I can tell you that it’s much worse to draw conclusions on something that is measured wrong, than to just not measure. It’s like a doctor prescribing the wrong medicine because of a wrong diagnosis. In my toilet experience mentioned above, the manager will think that everything is fine, as the toilets was just cleaned 20 minutes ago. The diagnosis will be that the toilets are fine, so I guess they will be looking exactly as gross next time I visit the restaurant if I indeed do visit it again.

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