Dirty restaurant restrooms send customers out the door

Rating bathrooms is one of those stories that just won’t go away.

But are restrooms really indicative of restaurant cleanliness?

The Detroit Free Press reports this morning that an online survey of 2,175 adults by Harris Interactive last year found that 88% of people who visit restaurants believe that restroom cleanliness reflects the restaurant’s overall hygiene, including sanitary standards in the kitchen and prep areas.

But is that assumption correct — or just a myth?

Health Department officials contacted about the survey said they couldn’t say because they’ve never studied the subject — and they wouldn’t speculate.

Ben says that while dirty bathrooms can be gross, like the gotcha moments on hidden camera programs, there really isn’t any information that suggests a place with a dirty bathroom is any more or less likely to cause an outbreak than a place with a clean bathroom. Risk-based inspection systems focus on factors that lead to illness as identified by the CDC and WHO — not the floors, walls and ceilings, and how many flies are on a fly strip.