Sometimes one walks into a new place and really get a surprise. This was the case when I went into the Men’s Room at a new restaurant recently. While the décor was pleasing and the space well laid out. What really caught my eye was the bowl of scrubbing salts next to the sink. There was a small sign that read, “Treat yourself to a relaxing salt scrub.” The sign went on to explain how to scoop just a wee amount of the salts into one’s wet hand and get an invigorating clean rather than the usual soap used for washing. Oh, they had regular soap, too. Probably have to for health code reasons, but trust me, my hands felt really clean and invigorated after using the salt scrub. Plus, they smelled really nice, too.
Does the salt scrub cost the restaurant more than convenient soap to provide in their restrooms? Probably. Does it create a bit more of a mess for staff to keep clean on the counter and around the sink than conventional soap? Perhaps. There was a bit of a mess around the bowl of salts where patrons had dripped salt on the counter, but I’ve seen worse in places just from the liquid soap dispenser. Regardless, the unique and pleasant sensation of scrubbing with the salts definitely produced a positive emotional impact. It was a memorable experience. Is this enough to keep me coming back to the restaurant? Not if they didn’t also provide great food in a pleasant atmosphere with friendly and efficient staff, but all else being equal, it definitely steps the customer experience up a notch which is what it takes in the very competitive hospitality business. Every advantage counts!