A day dedicated to toilets. You’ve got to be shitting me?
Nope, World Toilet Day is a thing and – leaving any toilet humour behind - it has a serious message. The day raises awareness of the 4.2 billion people living without access to safely managed sanitation, according to the United Nations, and is about taking action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and achieve water and sanitation for all by 2030.
OK, I’m flushed with guilt now. But why are we talking about it here?
To mark the occasion, supplies company Latham’s Hardware has released details about areas of much of the UK where hospitality venues have a good reputation for having a high standard of toilets and those that – quite frankly - have the most bogging bogs.
It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it…
The company hasn’t personally gone round and inspected every restaurant and pub toilet. Instead, it says it has scraped the Tripadvisor reviews of around 110,000 pubs and restaurants in the UK (excluding Northern Ireland) and isolated any reviews where the customer had specifically mentioned the toilets to lift the lid on the worst offenders. Latham’s was left with 12,041 reviews with its data showing that Tripadvisor reviews are rarely positive, with the majority of keywords having a negative sentiment including ‘dirty’, ‘filthy’, ‘smelly’, ‘disgusted’ and ‘awful’. It then looked at where venues were located that had these adjectives ascribed to them to draw what can a map of dirty toilets. And yes, before you say it, scraping reviews in this context does sound rather disgusting.
So, what’s the verdict?
Unsurprisingly, London had the highest number of complaints by quite a significant margin. However, to make the data fairer the company created a ‘proportional’ total of complaints that took into account respective population sizes. When population numbers were taken into account, the results painted a different picture.
Come on, don’t leave me hanging
Now that’s a horrible image. If you must know, Scotland came out the worst, with the venues in Edinburgh having the worst reviews followed by those in Glasgow - meaning that infamous scene in Trainspotting might not have been as wide of the mark as it first appeared. In third place was East Sussex, followed by Stirling, the Isle of Wight, Cornwall, Cumbria, Bristol, North Yorkshire and then Oxfordshire.
Who’d have thought hospitality toilets could be such an interesting topic?
Wait, there’s more. Toilets in restaurants have come under the bathroom spotlight for another reason, as well. Only yesterday The Guardian reported that some of the some of the UK’s biggest restaurant chains, including McDonald’s, KFC, Nando’s, Subway and Wagamama, have been denying toilet access to couriers delivering their food and drink.
Now that really stinks
Couriers have told the paper that toilets have been locked or barricaded off and they were made to wait outside the premises. This despite legislation stipulating that people making deliveries should be able to spend a penny during the pandemic. Some of the restaurants cited have since apologised and said it won't happen again.