The survey also found that 29 percent said they would never return to a restaurant with an extremely unclean or unsanitary restroom. The percentage of never-returns is much higher among people 35 years of age and older (33 percent) than those 18 to 34 (20 percent).
In addition, negative restroom experiences trigger strong negative word of mouth, the poll found. Fifty percent of those who visit restaurants said they would tell their friends and family about a negative experience with an unclean or unsanitary restaurant restroom, and 46 percent said they would avoid going to a restaurant because of a bad restroom experience that they had themselves or one they heard about from others.
Also, 42 percent reported using toilet paper or paper towels to avoid touching things inside an unclean restroom to protect themselves from unhygienic conditions. The percentage was higher, 56 percent, among females 35 to 44 years of age.
According to the poll, the top-10 restroom issues that would prevent restaurant patrons from returning are, in order of importance:
• Overflowing toilets: 58 percent
• Unpleasant odors: 57 percent
• Floors that were slippery or dirty with buildup, gum, or other residue: 49 percent
• Dirty partitions, doors, doorknobs, walls, or fixtures: 38 percent
• Dirty and wet sinks and countertops: 38 percent
• Insufficient toilet paper: 33 percent
• Overflowing trash cans: 31 percent
• Insufficient liquid soap: 28 percent
• Malfunctioning toilet paper dispenser: 22 percent
• Management/employees unavailable to report problems to: 19 percent.