Restaurant customers change their behaviour according to their perceptions of cleanliness, research has found.
More than one third of people who enter a dirty restaurant will leave immediately and a further 23% will order but depart before completing their meal, according to a survey carried out by hygiene specialist Diversey.
Sticky tables, dirty cutlery and poorly cleaned crockery and glassware are some of the things that customers notice first, its poll showed.
Diversey said the results demonstrated that back-of-house cleaning tasks, such as warewashing, needs to be simple and effective.
It said it is important to choose the right products for the specific application and type of washer so that the best possible results are achieved quickly and economically with no need for expensive and time-consuming repeat cleaning.
It also advised operators to ensure that front-of-house cleaning is quick, simple and effective.
“Clearing tables immediately after customers leave makes covers available as soon as possible to maximise throughput and profitability. Cleaning when customers are present sends a powerful message that the business takes hygiene seriously,” the company claimed.
Diversey noted that cleanliness also had an impact on food safety.
Around 40% of all food poisoning outbreaks are the result of poor hand hygiene and cross contamination.
Food can be contaminated from direct touching but poor hand hygiene can also cause issues with equipment such as ice machines, beverage equipment and water dispensers if staff operate them with dirty hands.