A third of hotel and restaurant employees have admitted that the establishment where they work is not always cleaned to the highest standard, a survey by Caterer and Hotelkeeper has found.
Of the 520 respondents, 33% said that their cleaning wasn't up to standard, despite the fact that 95% agreed that cleanliness had a direct effect on their bottom line, and 91% felt that presentable and tidy public areas were extremely important in creating a positive first impression.
In terms of the cleanliness of public areas, 29% said the restaurant at their establishment was not cleaned to a high standard and 14% said bedrooms weren't up to scratch. Worryingly, 35% said their kitchen was not always at a level of acceptable cleanliness.
However, the investigation into the cleanliness of the hospitality threw up some real hygiene horrors in customer environments as well.
When asked to name some of the poorest examples of hygiene they had ever seen, one respondent said: "A cockroach crawling out from under a lettuce leaf, covered in salad cream."
Another said: "I once visited a restaurant where there was dog poo from the owner's dog under my chair - I left." Others told stories of seeing a mouse staring out at them from a patisserie fridge, finding a mussel in a pot of room-temperature mayonnaise, and staff smoking and picking their nose while serving customers.
So what can be done to ensure that standards of cleanliness and hygiene are maintained in times of economic difficulty? John Dyson, technical affairs adviser at the British Hospitality Association
"If you aren't clean and hygienic as a business, you are going to get into trouble; there is no excuse for not training your staff in this area" said John Dyson.
Mark Lewis, group editor at Caterer and Hotelkeeper, said: "This research goes to show that, while cleanliness is recognised as one of the key ingredients in the customer experience, many operators don't take it as seriously as they should. Particularly in the current financial climate businesses ignore core customer expectations at their peril."
By Caterer & Hotelkeeper reporters
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