The next time you dine at a restaurant, take a good look at its bathroom.
Whenever it’s time to pop to the loo, pay close attention to your surroundings.
Consider the decor, the lighting, and the soap.
Notice the mirrors, the music, and the hand towels.
Then ask yourself this.
How “on-brand” is the restaurant’s bathroom?
It might sound like a trivial question — but not to Maggie Spicer.
She’s the founder of Whisk — a brand strategy and brand experience agency whose clients have included Airbnb, Twitch, Medium, and Salesforce.
Spicer is also an advocate of “on-brand bathrooms” — and in episode 5 of Superb’s podcast, The Recipe, she explains why every restaurant needs one.
“An on-brand bathroom is a bathroom in which the restaurant has taken the attention to detail and aesthetic of the main dining experience and extended that brand expression into the bathroom itself,” Spicer explains.
Often, though, a restaurant has “super-styled” every aspect of the dining experience — from the ceramics to the lighting to the service — “and then you go into the bathroom and it’s sort of an afterthought.”
Think harsh lighting, generic hand soap, and thin paper towels.
Spicer says the bathroom should always be “an extension of the guest experience in a hospitality setting.
In other words, if you’ve gone to all the trouble of serving an amazing meal in a delightful setting, why let yourself down with a lacklustre loo?
But that’s not all.
Spicer says a bathroom provides another opportunity for a restaurant to tell its brand story and communicate its identity.
Think eye-catching wallpaper, mosaics, or painted walls that are ideal for Instagram posts, selfies or subsequent table talk.
Likewise, Spicer says custom soaps can help a diner remember a restaurant.
“In that sense,” she explains, “it’s almost a business opportunity for the restaurant to continue their brand experience outside the restaurant.”
To listen to the full interview with Maggie Spicer, check out episode 5 of The Recipe — “Brand and Deliver” — on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.