Must say I understand the issue Starbucks has with letting the entire public use their facilities, however it does come in handy when travelling or when walking around the city. I think Cities should have more clean and safe public facilities!

fr33lunch: A topic that is close to my heart.

I currently run a large high-end retail store in an outdoor mall. Although plenty of other businesses around my store have restrooms, they do not allow their patrons to use their facilities. In fact, they take it a step further by suggesting that they come to my store. They even tell them what area in the store to find the restrooms, so that they can hurry in and return back to their stores...

The businessman in me knows that these customers walking through my door are added traffic and an opportunity to sell them something. The flip-side to this is the majority of the "customers" visiting my store just to use the restroom come from one of two stores: A pre-teen clothing store, whose customers are young girls who are dropped off by their parents to shop, and a big-chain bargain-reseller whose customers are not interested in much that is high-end--unless it's last season's.

My company does not have, nor will it allow me to implement, a patrons-only policy. At the same time, my company has devoted much time and money into tracking the conversion of our traffic to transactions. As a general manager, I am accountable for a metric requiring us to sell to a certain percentage of our traffic. It is, in part, how my performance as a manager is measured.

The plumbing in the surrounding area was installed many, many decades ago. As such, even the slightest plumbing issue results in about a $1000 plumbing bill every time I call. These funds come out of my operating-expenses budget and are a direct measure of another metric, profitability. So, say half a dozen 11-year-old girls are dropped off next door. One has to go to the bathroom. Well they're girls right? Then they ALL have to go. How many 11-year-olds do you think know better than to throw paper towels in the toilet? Not as many as you'd think.

So, should business have the right to not offer you a service? Damn right? Should basic sanitation and public health be maintained? Of course, but maybe they be provided by the mall, or strip mall that these businesses occupy.

As a side note, here in the golden state, I think any "restaurant" is required to offer restrooms to their patrons by law. Sorry Starbucks, you're screwed...


posted by Lu: 2527 days ago