Business issue: Bathrooms were not always clean, which could affect overall business.
Growth Experience: Grew 4 C-stores to 10 in 2 years. From 9 to 19 stores overall (including QSR’s)
Background: Star Express is a second-generation company that has grown from a single store to outlets that include C-Stores, fast food, and a travel center (currently under construction and scheduled to be completed winter 2018). Their busiest location sits next to an Interstate highway in an affluent area. The large store includes 4 bays, a large store, a Subway, and their fresh food canteen. The store has a beautiful layout with an upscale design.
Problem: The busy and profitable store was operating very well, but the bathrooms were not being kept clean according to spot-check results. Because it was so busy, it was easy to let the upkeep of bathrooms slip. Customers had reported a few issues. Since travelers will frequently choose where to stop based on bathroom cleanliness, it was likely that the store was losing business.
Assessment: Electronic survey devices – a wall-mounted tablet with a single question – were installed next to the restrooms. The Quik Data surveys were taken 40-50 times per day and were showing 60 to 90 percent ‘clean’ feedback, but the results were not consistent. The data from the survey were analyzed to determine the time of day that the non-clean ratings were given, where it was discovered who was generally responsible for bathroom duty at the times the ratings were down.
Solution: By reviewing the results with the staff, the manager was able to explain the expectations and do a follow-up. Bathroom ratings went up for a while, but perhaps not surprisingly, fell back again. The same process, analysis followed by coaching, was followed and reminders were put in place. The store manager now discusses any dips below an 80% clean rating.
Lessons learned: Customer feedback is honest – sometimes brutally so – but makes things happen. No one likes bathroom-cleaning duty, so frequent reminders and coaching are going to always be part of C-Store management. Measure what you want to improve. Take the time-based information and study the patterns to learn more about the issue so an on-going solution can be applied.