May 24, 2022
2:51 pm

Is It Time to Upgrade to Touchless Public Bathroom Technology?

2 bathroom sinks with automatic sensors

For convenience store owners, quick service restaurant (QSR) owners, and other independent retailers, consumer expectations around public hygiene have intensified dramatically.

Although we are beginning to move past the pandemic, COVID-19 has left a lasting imprint on health and hygiene expectations in public settings. Consumers are now vigilant critics who will abandon businesses that do not appear to take their health seriously.

For a customer, nothing says more about your business’ commitment to health and hygiene than the state of your public washroom facilities. It’s a big reason why more and more retailers are investing in touchless technology.

Canadian stats on touchless public bathroom technology

Touchless technology is nothing new. Touchless hand dryers have been around since the early 1990s when Mitsubishi invented the first jet-powered hand dryers. Interest and adoption of touchless public bathroom technology for decades but the realities of COVID-19 have drastically increased the consumers’ interest in cleanliness and in things being touchless.

According to a survey conducted by Dyson in 2020, three-quarters of Canadians were more concerned about visiting public washrooms during the pandemic and more than half chose to visit public facilities less frequently. According to the same Dyson survey, 42% of Canadians are concerned with pressing buttons on hand dryers.

It appears living through the pandemic will have a lasting impact on attitudes and habits around hygiene. As people return to pre-pandemic ways of life, consumers will continue to evaluate spaces and businesses based on their commitment to cleanliness and hygiene. Companies that invest in their customers will undoubtedly come out on top.

Numerous options for retailers

To meet customer expectations for elevated hygiene standards, retailers with public washroom facilities are looking closer at touchless tech in the post-Covid era.

There are numerous commercial manufacturers providing everything from touchless hand dryers and soap dispensers to faucets and toilets. Top names include Dyson, Sloan, Xlerator, Global Industrial, Sloan, and Rubbermaid. Increasingly, touchless technology is becoming available to homeowners, with several options now available at your local hardware store. This will only put further pressure on businesses to adopt touchless solutions.

According to Nicole Sarioglu, Senior Designer at CTM Design Services Ltd., it used to be common for a business to install a touchless dryer alongside manual soap dispensers and taps.

“Increasingly, business owners are opting to make all elements touchless. Including sinks, faucets, toilets, and hand dryers.”

Stores can capitalize on value by purchasing combined features that are sold as a single unit.

“One trend we’re noticing is that there can be cost savings in purchasing a single-piece touchless sink. These fixtures have the soap dispenser and hand dryer built-in,” said Sarioglu.

“With everything built into the sink, you don’t get soap or water on the ground so, not only is there a cost-benefit, there is less cleaning and less risk of slipping.”

With more efficient technology in the bathroom, the area stays cleaner for longer. For example, with automatic hand dryers, you don’t have to clean up paper towels from the floor or empty garbage bins as frequently.

Invest for success

Although touchless public bathroom technology is more expensive than traditional fixtures, as the technology is becoming more widely adopted prices have been coming down. Making it a more viable solution for new builds and renovations alike.

“A new washroom can be designed to accommodate all electrical requirements upfront. It’s also relatively easy to upgrade existing washrooms for touchless technology without significant renovations.”

For example, many touchless soap dispensers run on batteries and don’t require hard wiring.

Additionally, renovating an existing washroom to include touchless technology can be done quickly, and scheduled to minimize interruptions to in-store operations.

Protect your customers – protect your business

Touchless technology shows that you care about your customers and are genuinely committed to earning their repeat business. As more businesses adopt touchless, the ones that don’t will be left at a disadvantage. As we push past the pandemic and blend into a world where technology is seamlessly integrated into our lives, even the most minor improvements like removing the need to touch a button can make a world of difference.

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