Clean Bathrooms – Do They Really Impact C-Store Performance?

Clean Bathrooms – Do They Really Impact C-Store Performance?

I get asked this question a lot these days. I was interviewed recently. The reporter asked the question whether having a cleaning bathroom really made a difference to store sales or overall customer satisfaction. She admitted that it mattered to her and she believes that most customers care deeply about clean bathrooms. The issue is how to prove it.

Clean bathrooms are just the symbol of a good store. A dirty bathroom signifies a host of issues like food contamination, priorities and general attitude that impact customer service. I have been told by many companies that lease their stores that their biggest concern is how the stores look.

It seems that no one would allow a bathroom to be dirty if it impacted their profits. Yet, we all know there are a lot of dirty bathrooms out there. Some argue that bathrooms are just abused by non-paying customers at busy interstate exits and do not want to pay for it. Probably, some worry that the nothing they do can make for a clean bathroom due to the high traffic. It is just too expensive to build a bathroom to withstand the heavy usage. In short, some operators feel the hard work of keeping restrooms clean is not worth it.

Mothers Know Best

Yet, ask any mother and see how she ranks the importance of clean bathrooms when picking a travel stop for herself and children. Ask any husband if you do not think it impacts his choice when traveling. As proof, search for apps that show bathroom ratings like Charmin’s Sit or Squat.

I’d like to get your feedback on just how important clean bathrooms are to you and why it matters or does not matter. Give me your opinion (and your address) and I will send you a free copy of our new book – ‘If You Have Time To Lean, You Have Time To Clean’. To send me your opinion and your address for mailing, click here.
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C-Store Staff Retention – The Top Challenge?

C-Store staff retention – Many  owners argue it is their biggest issue.

The improving economy is often cited for making a difficult job of C-Store staff retention even harder. While all positions are important the one that I hear about the most is the challenge of finding and keeping good store managers.

Sometimes the situation is so bad, I hear operators complain that they do not address bad performance because it is just too hard to find staff. They reason that having a bad employee is better than not having enough staff to man the stores. In the most extreme cases, I have heard of closing stores due to the lack of available staff.

Some argue that keeping staff is a direct reflection of the store manager. The concept – “People leave managers, not companies.” (Jack Altman – ‘Don’t Be Surprised When Your Employees Quit’) places high value for the store manager in regards to C-Store staff retention .

So then the need to keep the manager happy and productive becomes very important. There is not much of an issue when things are going well. The challenge presents itself when a store is not performing well. If you push the manager you may make things worse and lose staff compounding a bad situation. Such concerns, can lead to a paralysis of action worrying about losing staff and making things ever worse.

Doing nothing is a choice

The lack of a decision is still a decision and not taking action when things are bad has not often been sited as the best approach. Everyone has their limits of what is acceptable and how to deal with problems. We have gathered a lot of information and come up with our own system to address staff retention. I’d love to hear your approach and share how we approach it. I’d like to get your feedback on how you address C-Store staff retention. Give me your opinion (and your address) and I will send you a free copy of our new book – ‘If You Have Time To Lean, You Have Time To Clean’. To send me your opinion and your address for mailing, click here.

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Tips from the front lines, now collected in one book

Winning C-Store customers and keeping them is the result of smart work by everyone who works in a convenience store, from the team who keep the coolers humming to the owner. We’ve been posting videos for several weeks and this book is a collection of those tips, plus many more, from those people who make C-Stores work well. If You Have Time to Lean, You Have Time to Clean documents not only the tips from the best c-store operators as well as Store Performance – a system that the best operators use to make their stores run efficiently, achieve financial goals, make their customers happy, and retain key staff.

“I took the time to read your book and I want you to know that it was well worth it. I really enjoyed it and got a lot out of it. I will order additional copies for each of my managers. It will surely help them in training their new employees.”

– John Plasky, Operations Manager

You can order the book from Amazon at by clicking on our homepage. We’re also making special arrangements for associations to share the book with their members at special rates. If you are interested, contact us at or call us 804.733.8844.

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Plan C-Store Manager Meetings for High Performance

Store manager meetings are a critical part of operations. It is hard to have a perfect meeting, but it needs to be well done since the cost of having all your store managers out of the store is substantial and demands a great return. High performance operations often use the store manager meeting as an integral part of the process and systematization efforts.

Here are some key meeting goals to consider as you plan:


  • Everyone appreciates a well-organized meeting that uses time well and contains valuable information.


  • Break the meeting into mini sessions (30 to 45 minutes each) and ensure presentations have visual aids and proper documentation for take-away review. A checklist to review during the coming week is very nice. A review of the checklist with the supervisor is even better.


  • What are we to get from the meeting and do once we are done. Smart goals work here as well – specific, measurable, assigned to a person, realistic and time-bound.


  • Reminders and support – no matter how great the meeting, it is not easy to get to everything that needs to be covered. In addition, the crush of work can push the new ideas to the back. Reminders and follow-up are part of the job.


  • Change is hard. Make it fun. Have vendors provide food and gifts, make team-building exercises, award great work, and find ways to spotlight great effort and results.

Listen as well as instruct

  • If you want your team to perform, make sure you acknowledge and respond to their concerns. Not every problem can be solved on the fly, but don’t be afraid to tackle some during the meeting. Give them something specific to remember that applies to their personal situation. Encourage participation by providing positive responses to issues.
  • Explain the time and resources to implement the changes. Make sure they leave with confidence to try new things and with the safety of knowing they do not have to get it perfect the first time. Encourage change so improvement can occur.

Great store manager meetings end with enthusiasm and a commitment to achieve specific actions. The participants should feel energized and motivated. Such meetings often include awards for great results, prizes to keep everyone feeling appreciated, and some interesting management sessions – even games to stimulate new thinking. After all, the necessary part of improvement is changing behavior. It takes clarity, skills and motivation to try new things. Help them by preparing and executing a great meeting. The results will come.

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