Posted on 10/17/2017

Your brand promise can be anything from “the best fried chicken in town” to “always expect great customer service.” One thing that’s not unique across brand promises is clean and functional stores.

The cleanliness of a store or the maintenance of a restroom can make or break sales for a food service business. Your customers interact with door handles, countertops, and tables. If a customer walks into a store that has broken floor tiles or rides over potholes at a drive-through, they may never return to your store.

These kinds of mistakes cost you business and jeopardize your customer base. Customers vote with their feet, and many won’t let you know why they left before they’ve left. In a recent research study conducted by M/A/R/C® Research and National In-Store, 14 percent of consumers polled said they would stop visiting a store that wasn’t as clean as they would like.

Many corporate offices now make store cleanliness and functionality a part of health checks. A store can be docked for broken tiles, appearance of mops and cleaning rags, or lighting fixtures with malfunctioning bulbs. Some corporate offices consider the store’s appearance a part of the brand promise. These companies want to see a customer journey that’s “clean” from start to finish without anything broken or dirty at any step along that journey.

One store owner we interviewed, said he was penalized on a health check over the appearance of his yellow mop bucket. The bucket’s exterior was dirty and was considered too unsightly to be rolled in front of customers as crew members cleaned the storefront.

Health inspectors can say that an entire floor must be replaced due to a broken or cracked floor tile. Health inspectors can flag items in a store and give a 30-day notice to fix the problem. Maintenance tags can come with big price tags. So it won’t hurt you to:

  1. Ensure your crew stays on top of cleaning projects like scraping the undersides of tables or defrosting display cases in normal cleaning cycles once every few months
  2. Invest in projects that boost the aesthetics of your store before a health check occurs

Store appearance isn’t about hiring a cleaning crew or buying the best chairs for customers to use. It’s about customers coming into your store and feeling good about being there. Your store’s appearance creates a stronger brand promise and keeps your customers coming back again and again.