For many, owning a restaurant is a dream come true—industry experts estimate there are more than 300,000 independently owned restaurants across the country. And despite the long hours, hard work and financial risk accompanying that dream, restaurateurs are devoted to serving their customers. To celebrate their entrepreneurial spirit of service, Ecolab is inviting restaurant owners to share their stories for a chance to win a makeover by Ecolab’s “Champions of Clean” in the first-ever Ecolab Clean Makeover Contest.
“At Ecolab we’re privileged to be part of the Foodservice industry where so many passionate, inspired people create places for us to celebrate the events in our lives, big and small, while enjoying great food,” said Nicolas Granucci, Ecolab vice president of Foodservice Marketing. “We want to recognize that contribution by giving away a year’s worth of the best Ecolab has to offer to one foodservice operator.”
As most in the business will attest, running a restaurant is no picnic. With nearly a million restaurants1 in the U.S., there’s plenty of competition vying for consumer dollars. “Guests definitely have a choice on where to go, and it’s up to me to ensure that the guest experience is fulfilled from beginning to end. When I know that sanitation and cleanliness are taken care of, I can stay focused on what I need to be focused on,” said Chef Eric Miller, who tested the Ecolab Clean Makeover concept.
“Restaurateurs work very hard and have a tremendous amount to do on a day-to-day basis. Ecolab’s commitment is to provide dependable sanitation solutions that give them more time to be creative and enhance the guest experience,” said Granucci. “With the Clean Makeover approach we actually send an entire team of experts that we call ‘The Champions of Clean’ to a customer’s operation. They examine every element of a customer’s sanitation program and then make a customized recommendation for that customer to achieve the right goals for him or her.”
While restaurant sanitation may not get the spotlight on any of the celebrity chef TV shows, cleanliness is very important to restaurant customers. Findings from Technomic, an independent consumer research firm, show that consumers place a high value on the cleanliness of tableware and restaurant interiors, ranking the cleanliness of tableware, restrooms and visible kitchen areas among the 10 most important attributes of their dining experiences.2 The same study found that cleanliness satisfaction scores were connected to a higher “intent to return” by consumers, as well as same-store sales growth.3
“The cleanliness of a restaurant can significantly impact a customer’s experience as well as the restaurant’s reputation and bottom line. Restaurant cleanliness is clearly related to customer satisfaction and repeat business. Clean tableware was on par with food quality and taste in the Technomic survey,” said Granucci.
Contest entries to date range from humble to heartbreaking to humorous. But what all stories share are a passion for the industry, high regard for restaurant cleanliness and the desire to see the positive impact that winning the Ecolab Clean Makeover could have on their businesses. As one entrant wrote, “In our business, success is based on a spotless facility as well as perfect food.”
Another wrote, “Having bussed tables 24 years ago at the establishment I now own, I truly embrace the theory of working up thru the ranks. It was my culinary passion that enabled me to excel in this business. My motto…‘a clean kitchen is a happy kitchen!’”
To enter, all foodservice operators are invited to share how they could benefit from Ecolab at whycleanmatters.com/cleanmakeover. Videos of entry excerpts, Chef Miller and of “The Champions of Clean” at work, as well as official rules and prize package details are also available on the site. Entries are accepted through October 31, 2012.
The prize package, valued at $25,000, includes a one-year supply of Ecolab products and equipment, featuring an Ecolab Dishmachine Rental with new Apex2 technology, GuardianPlus™ Pest Elimination Service, an Ecolab Cleaning Caddy, water filtration equipment for an ice machine and postmix, an array of cleaning products and tools, and much more. The winning restaurant also will benefit from a full year of Ecolab’s industry expertise and 24/7 service, including a food safety evaluation and coaching session.
1 “America Works Here”, National Restaurant Association
2 Technomic CRBM, Q4 2010
3 Technomic CRBM, Q4 2010