How to Design a Restaurant Bathroom

If you don’t want to lose customers, focus on your bathrooms. A study found that 86% of people equate the cleanliness of a restaurant’s restroom with its kitchen. So it’s no surprise the same study found that 75% of people would not return to a restaurant with a dirty restroom. We’ve all been there — taking a break from your meal to go to the restroom and coming back with a story of horror or awe.

It turns out those bathroom stories affect the bottom line, and creating a restaurant bathroom that is inviting, clean and free of corrosion help make a positive impact.

How does your bathroom get there? Take a look at the following tips to create a restaurant bathroom that pulls out all the stops.

how to design a restaurant partition

1. Ensure Compliance With Regulations

The first step is figuring out how much space your bathroom will take up and how it will be organized. When you’re creating a restaurant bathroom layout, you have to examine the code requirements in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to ensure your facility is handicapped accessible. These requirements map out the amount of space and layout that’s required, in addition to counter configurations, grab bar specifics, size requirements for toilets and urinals and height requirements for mirrors, coat hooks and shelves — and a whole lot more.
We have several suggestions for design details, but the first step is making sure your restaurant bathroom layout is compliant with the ADA. If you aren’t sure where to start, we have an online tool that helps you build your design. We also have designers who can work with you to free of charge.

2. Create the Right Flow for the Bathroom Space

Once you’re confident you have all of the code compliance pieces in place, it’s time to give some thought to the process of washing and drying your hands. Here are some questions to consider as you think about the traffic flow within your bathroom — no matter how small!
• If you’re going to have paper or cloth towels, how far will they be from the sink?
• How far will you have to reach your dripping wet hands from the sink for the soap dispenser?
• In the hand-washing process, how far do you have to drip water before you get your hands dry?
• If you offer paper or cloth towels, how will you dispose of them? Where will that trash can or hamper be located?
These may seem like irrelevant details, but if the sink, soap and drying method are all far apart, relatively speaking, that leaves a lot of room for dripping water on your counter tops, walls and mirrors. If you focus on creating a restaurant bathroom that has all of these items closer together, then you minimize the amount space you have for excess water and soap to collect — ultimately making the bathroom easier to keep clean.

3. Determine the Location for Partitions

Once you have decided on your restaurant bathroom layout and flow, the next step is deciding on some of the specifics — first of all, the partitions for your stalls. There are several different materials available, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for restaurant bathroom partitions. When you’re contemplating what material to use, consider these questions:
• Will my restroom have a lot of traffic?
• Is the restroom going to have high humidity?
• Is there a significant risk of vandalism?
• How important is customization?

In addition to considering traffic, humidity, vandalism and customization, it’s also important to consider cleanliness, durability, safety and privacy:
• Cleanliness: There is always going to be a level of maintenance required to make sure partitions stay clean, but the material you choose can certainly impact cleaning — for example, some require more frequent cleaning, and others may require deeper cleaning.

• Durability: In addition to cleanliness, you want partitions that are durable, especially if your bathroom will have high traffic. Again, the material you choose will determine the level of durability. All of our partitions are durable and corrosion-resistant, but not all materials can make the same claim. Make sure you do your research on durability, so you don’t end up having to recreate your restaurant bathroom soon.

• Safety and Privacy: Often these go hand in hand with durability — usually if you choose a sturdy partition material, it’s something that will be thick enough to instill a sense of safety and privacy in your customers. Regardless, it’s worth noting that you don’t want to choose a material that is going to be flimsy and leave your customers feeling like they don’t have any privacy.

So what are your choices when it comes to bathroom partitions and how do they stack up? We can only speak to the materials we offer at One Point Partitions — powder-coated steel, laminate, solid plastic, phenolic and stainless steel. Since such a large number of customers don’t to restaurants when they encounter a dirty restroom, we’ll give you some insight to keeping our partitions clean. It’s pretty simple, regardless of the material you choose — use a mix of warm water and a mild detergent with a soft cloth or rag to wipe them down. If you’re looking for more specifics on in-depth cleaning of each type of material before you decide, you can read our blog post on how to clean each of our bathroom partitions. For more specifics on how each of the materials we offer compares in durability, safety, privacy and price, you can refer to our guide on how to pick a partition.

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4. Pick Your Fixtures

What could the design of fixtures you choose possibly do to help you keep a clean bathroom? The answer is a lot. Imagine yourself in a messy restroom. One of the things you probably notice is puddles or drops of water and clumps of old soap all over the counter tops and used paper towels on the floor. Using stylish faucets and dispensers in your restaurant may give it a fashionable look, but if it isn’t clean, the style isn’t going to matter to your customers. As your considering faucets, soap dispensers, paper towel dispensers and hand dryers, think about the following questions:
• How will you turn on the faucet — will it be automatic or manual?
• How tall will the faucet be? Will most of the water flow be within the sink?
• Will the soap dispenser be automatic or manual?
• Where will the excess soap spill? Into the sink? Onto the counter?
• Do you have to turn on the paper towel dispenser or hand dryer with your wet hands?

In addition to choosing between automatic and manual, and deciding on a placement for each, you’ll need to decide on a finish. While the finish may seem like a decision that should be made on style alone, the fact of the matter is that some finishes hide the everyday wear and tear better than others. Overall, polished finishes will show smudges. For a restaurant bathroom with quite a bit of traffic, brushed metals will do a better job of hiding fingerprints and water spots.

5. Decide on Flooring

It’s tempting not to give the flooring in your bathroom much thought — either we’ll continue the flooring from the rest of the restaurant, or we’ll just pick out something cheap. It’s under everyone’s feet, so how much can it matter, right? Wrong. If you’re going to keep your restaurant bathroom looking pristine for your customers, you’re going to need to have something that can handle the high amount of foot traffic and be easy to clean. Here are a few things to consider, regardless of what type of flooring you’re considering:

• Durability: How will the flooring stand up to all of your foot traffic and all the different types of shoes? Does it scratch easily? How quickly will the color fade? Is it susceptible to cracks and breaks? Over time, all flooring may need to be repaired or replaced, but investing in something that will have a long life up front can save you money down the road.

• Water Resistance: Is the flooring naturally water resistant, or is it porous? Does it require sealing? A bathroom is a humid environment, and you’re sure to have water dripping on the floor. If you select a floor that is porous, you have a higher risk of growing mold. If you choose a floor that requires sealing, make sure you know how often and how much it will cost, as that’s an additional maintenance cost you may decide you want to live without.

• Sanitary: Keeping your bathroom germ-free is the ultimate goal. While we’re confident you’ll never be able to achieve that, you can come closer if you choose a floor that easy to keep clean. Think about flooring options that are solid, completely flat and easy to wash. You can even get flooring, or a coating to put over the flooring, that has antimicrobial properties — helping you fight off the germs beneath your customers’ feet.

• Safety: It may seem kind of silly to think of a floor as “safe,” but consider the water it’s exposed to — if you choose a flooring that doesn’t have any dimensional traction, it could become significantly slippery. Falls are a liability for your business, so doing the research and choosing a floor that won’t glaze over when it’s exposed to water may be worth it.
If you haven’t looked into flooring options yet and aren’t sure where to start, there are a few that are more common than others: concrete, vinyl, ceramic, natural slate and brick. Each of these has their list of pros and cons, so you’ll want to consider the factors above and research which option is best for your restaurant.

6. Choose Your Lighting

A big part of everyone’s restroom experience is lighting. In addition to using it to navigate around the restroom, you inevitably check yourself out in the mirror and adjust your hair or makeup before you head back out to your table.
There are a few easy places to start when it comes to lighting:
• Make sure you have enough of it. Even a spotless restroom can appear dirty in dim lighting — and that’s the last thing you want your customers to perceive.

• Choose warm, not cool lights. No one looks nice in blue light. Also, don’t have all the lights overhead because that creates unflattering shadows. You want to design your restaurant bathroom so that there is a balance of warm light coming from above and the sides.

• Find fixtures that match or complement your décor. You want the design of your light fixtures to coordinate with the light fixtures throughout the rest of the restaurant. It’s tempting to settle for cheaper fixtures behind your bathroom’s closed doors, but lighting is just one way you can keep your customers’ experience consistent throughout your restaurant and bathroom.

7. Add Your Brand

Incorporating the brand of your restaurant into your bathroom is important, but it does need to be balanced with other, practical things like the choice of fixtures and their location. You don’t want to focus so much on the brand that you lose sight of the function of the bathroom.

In addition to light fixtures, simple things, like paint colors and wall décor can be a great way to make sure your brand doesn’t get lost in your restroom. Try to think of things that can be changed easily if your brand changes or evolves. For example, sticking to a neutral paint color but focusing your efforts on tailoring wall décor — such as photography and art — to your brand provides flexibility, as you can easily change the wall décor.

Of course, there is another less common way you can incorporate your brand, along with a sense of luxury, into your restroom. Think of a spa. A spa is all about the experience, from the scents to the music. You could include a spray or diffuser with a scent that fits your brand, or just provides a pleasant aroma for your customers. Music also adds a nice touch — whether there’s a type of music that matches your brand, a specific radio station or calming nature sounds.

You’ll also want to make sure your partitions complement the branding in your restaurant bathroom. As you’re searching for a partition provider, make sure they have the material you want and a variety of colors to choose from. Then, your partitions will be both functional and branded. For example, we offer dozens of colors and finishes — and free samples, so you can see them in person before you decide. We know it’s important to see the color and make sure it complements the rest of your paint and décor.

Work With One Point Partitions

At One Point Partitions, we sell partitions, but we’re focused on sharing how to design an efficient, comfortable restaurant bathroom. Whether your bathroom is a single-person bathroom or multi-stall, we can help you find a solution that works best for your restaurant.

If you already have an idea of what your restaurant bathroom layout looks like, submit your design to us online to get a free quote. Don’t worry about having an official blueprint or drawing — a simple sketch with measurements will work just fine.

If you’re just getting started, we have our online tool that can help you begin your design, and several templates to get you started. We’d love to have one of our designers team up with you to create a restaurant bathroom layout that meets all the code requirements and inspires your customers to keep coming back.