Waitress cleaning the counter in a restaurantNew Mexico restaurateurs are concerned about cleanliness and safety. BusinessWire  and the NMRA wants you to keep customers coming through your doors. Aside from health concerns, a messy restaurant is a customer turn-off. A  Harris Poll shows that restaurants will lose customers due to unclean conditions. The survey also shows diners will not return to a restaurant if there are even partial cleanliness issues.

The five cleanliness issues that turn customers away:

• Dirty surfaces (e.g., tables, chairs, booths, dust on decor, dust bunnies on floors) — 86 percent would not return to the restaurant

• General bad odor — 85 percent

• Dirty restrooms (e.g., floors, stalls, mirrors, odor) — 80 percent

• Dirty/slippery floors (e.g., wetness, dirt/dust) — 72 percent

• Entryway cleanliness (e.g., cigarette butts, overflowing trash cans, unkempt appearance) — 70 percent

Diners said other restaurant issues will keep them from visiting a restaurant again:

• Plumbing issues (e.g., toilets and/or sinks not working) – 68 percent would stay away from that restaurant in the future

• Broken or cracked glass (e,g, counters, windows) — 53 percent

• Noise (e.g., loud music, loud employees, phones ringing) — 47 percent

• Dirty or discolored ceiling tiles — 47 percent

• Poor outdoor patio conditions — 37 percent

• Lighting issues (e.g. light fixtures out, not working properly, poor lighting) — 36 percent

Woman are  slightly more likely to nix future visits to restaurants that have cleanliness problems. For example, 75 percent of women will not return to a restaurant that had a dirty entryway. However, on the same issue, it was 64 percent of men. Senior diners 65 and up were much more offended by dirty/slippery floors (88 percent), compared to diners aged 18-34. (61 percent).

“Even with a master chef in the kitchen, a dirty restroom or unattractive entryway can leave a bad taste in a diner’s mouth,” says John Engel, a senior marketing manager for Cincinnati-based Cintas, which commissioned this survey.  “Repeat business is vital to the success of any restaurant. Restaurant managers must ensure that their employees are ready to address facility flaws to keep diners returning.”

You may want to use manager checklists — opening, mid-day and closing — to help make sure that cleanliness is addressed several time each day. Peak dining times = more mess. You may want to increase efforts to keep things clean and sanitary based on your peak times.

Read more here.