The report, by laminate manufacturer Formica Group, suggests UK consumers identify pubs, bars and nightclubs as some of the worst offenders for poor quality toilet facilities. It also suggests that the hospitality sector "as a whole needs to address the issue".
When asked where they encountered the worst toilets, 40% of respondents said pubs and bars, and 35% said nightclubs. Only train toilets were considered to be worse.
When it comes to those getting it right, however, JD Wetherspoon pubs scored highly with many respondents saying "how clean the toilets tended to be", it said.
Restaurants were also generally considered to have good loos, with only 7% citing a bad experience in these environments.
Make or break
Formica Group Europe marketing manager Joe Bell said: “With huge competition in the hospitality sector, the state of an establishment’s toilets can make or break the overriding experience and influence whether a customer returns or not.
"It is also this type of scenario that ends up on social media, damaging a brand’s reputation.
“With hygiene paramount in the dining-out sector, clean toilets should be second nature. Small adjustments to the design, fixtures and fittings can help flush away poor perceptions and restore public confidence by making washrooms more pleasant environments”.
Next to godliness
Cleanliness is a major factor for operators to consider when it comes to the look and finish of a public loo, said the group.
Overall, people’s main concerns when using public toilets were hygiene (66%), lack of facilities such as paper and soap (54%) and lack of privacy (41%).
A total of 76% say that a clean toilet is the most important decorative and interior consideration for public bathrooms.
Gender loo roles
There are other gender differences, with more women than men cleaning up public loos before using them (including wiping the seat or flushing the pan); two thirds of women (66%) compared to half of men (53%). That said, many women wouldn’t even get that far, with three quarters saying dirt would put them off using a toilet.
Gender neutral, unisex toilets, have been big news recently, but only 36% of us are comfortable with unisex loos. When asked about this, four in 10 respondents said it was because of the need for a toilet to be a safe space, and one in five said it was because the other gender was not as clean/hygienically conscious.
Operators should also take note of some of the most popular requests that consumers have made, including a hands free flush (60%), better soundproofing (32%) and a faster flush filling system (29%).