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Road trips has always been one of the best summer vacation trends ever, it’s more popular now because of today’s pandemic environment. For the experienced road trip vacationers stopping at a gas station to grabbing candy bars and peanuts isn’t the healthiest way to eat while traveling and the old Ziplock bag full of snacks for the kids will get you started but planning the first rest stop and restaurant break is more important than ever.

Road trip planning involves strategic, mapping out pit stops at impressive eateries; from an alien-themed truck stop offering beef pastrami burgers to a drive-throughs serving hearty steak sub and everything in between. Embracing endless miles to uncover hidden gems such as monuments, small town celebrations, and popular roadside eateries with loyal fans is what makes a road trip compelling.

During the wonderful excursion there’s always a standard recurring dilemma; some tiny, tinkling of inconvenience standing between you and the beautiful open road: the need to use the restroom. With close to 200 million confirmed infections all over the world and over 3.5 million corona-related deaths, health and safety considerations become paramount. It’s a real head-scratcher when traveling on a road trip to finding the most sanitary restroom for you and your family.

Many eateries have strict restroom cleaning policies, most with hourly scheduled cleaning. They try to keep their restrooms sanitary and well supplied. Because of the volume of people using the restroom, keeping it pristine can be challenging.  Germs and bacteria lurk throughout the restrooms, droplets and aerosols spewed from uncovered toilets contaminating all surfaces in its path, including countertops, door handles, toilet handles, toilet paper and sinks.

Restaurants still have room to improve, according to a survey done by Consumer Brand Metrics. Less than 47.4% of customers had the opinion that a diners’ bathroom they used recently was very clean. Interestingly, many customers use restroom sanitation as a barometer for the overall cleanliness of the eatery. According to Respond Market Blog, they hosted a surveyed asking people what the most important features were to them when considering dining at a family casual dining restaurant. The top response? “Clean bathrooms” which 72% of the respondents said was “very important” or “fairly important”.

https://response.agency/blog/2019/06/why-your-bathrooms-matter-to-your-restaurants-brand/

We all know that food chains vary, and distinctions may present themselves with individual locations, time of the day, how many people are waiting in line, and if a minute can be spared to scrub the restroom. When you need to go, you have to go, and sometimes the only available place is a diner’s restroom, especially when you are on a road trip.

We clocked miles and singled out popular, detour-worthy restaurants with mouth-watering delicacies along America’s famous, well-traveled roads. We were also interested in bathroom sanitation and hygiene steps taken by popular food joints in the wake of the pandemic.

The percentages and opinions in the list below reflect customer’s experiences when they visited the diners recently.

  1. WaWa (https://www.wawa.com ) https://www.inquirer.com/philly/news/wawa-best-bathrooms-gas-stations-pennsylvania-20180516.html https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2019/05/15/wawa-has-cleanest-restrooms-in-maryland-virginia-but-sheetz-is-ranked-cleanest-in-w-virginia/

Florida, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Pennsylvania have all ranked WaWa as one of the cleanest bathroom facilities in America. This review is based on millions of customer reviews over a 3-year period.

The overall cleanliness of WaWa restrooms has increased by 7% since 2017. They have truly put in the effort to make their restrooms sparkle according to Frank Beard, an expert retails trend analyst at GasBuddy. Wawa is quickly becoming a one-stop location for clean bathrooms, delicious, customized meals, and bon vivant meals.

  1. Starbucks ( https://www.starbucks.com/ )

Some baristas at Starbucks have had enough of serving as janitors in the restaurants’ de facto public restrooms. This is after the company decided to make the restaurant available to everyone, customers, and non-customers alike.

Tired of the filthy, messy bathrooms, some workers tried to put up “Employee Only” signs in the restrooms to lock out customers and non-customers. This move didn’t go unnoticed because news later broke that Starbucks was becoming inhospitable.

Starbucks responded by saying they weren’t closing their bathrooms to the public. Soon the restrooms became more of a gathering space where people get to use free Wi-Fi as they empty their coffee-filled bladders without being asked to leave.

There was proof that in more crowded locations, visitors used less precision in the restroom.

“It’s a little too much, Starbucks has become New York’s public bathroom,” says Jesus Diaz, an assistant manager at one of Starbuck’s heavily trafficked locations.

  1. McDonald’s (https://mcdonalds.com) https://www.mcdonalds.com/gb/en-gb/help/faq/18736-how-do-you-keep-your-toilets-clean.html

Only 35.3% of diners at McDonald’s thought the bathrooms were very clean. 25.5% said the washroom cleanliness at McDonald’s was below average. Consumer Brand Metrics reports that McDonald’s ranks below average in each and every element of cleanliness.

McDonald’s UK shared its outline on bathroom cleaning procedures in a recent transparency campaign. McDonald’s US may want to borrow a leaf from their friends in the UK.

  1. Chick-fil-A ( https://www.chick-fil-a.com/ )

Chick-fil-A has set the bar high when it comes to hygiene standards and divine, savory recipes. Up to 65% of customers said that the quick-service chicken chain offers high-quality bathroom facilities.  One excited customer went on to share a video of the restroom facilities fully stocked with hand sanitizers, children’s diapers, an additional mouthwash station, and hand soap.

“The restrooms smell like a medical office – truly immaculate!” he added

Furthermore, 68.6% of customers were impressed with the sanitary interiors and 66.5% opined that the kitchen and prep spaces were very clean. Business Insider readers agree with these figures and are confident that Chick-fil-A has the best customer service, food, and bathrooms.

Chick-fil-A is the perfect stop to grab a delicious, quick bite on your road trip.

Conclusion

Consumer safety concerns should come first, food chains should investigate and improve sanitation with state-of-the-art restroom fixtures. There is nothing worse than a filthy bathroom when you need to answer nature’s call.

AAA provides diverse sanitary solutions for any washroom situation – slow toilets, clogged drains, toilets that don’t flush, overflowing toilets –creating a clean environment for guests and employees alike.  AAA’s mission is to provide valued and sanitary bathroom facilities to all customers.

They may not be the best part of a quick-service unit, but restrooms have a huge impact on an eatery’s operations. Improvement of restroom sanitary conditions and designs should be one of the main, if not the main focus of all major quick-service food chains.