“Employees must wash hands after using the bathroom.”

Signs with that injunction are plastered in restaurants across the country. I have no idea how faithfully that rule is followed, but if the compliance rate in hospitals is any indication, probably not nearly as often as you’d hope. As Mark Graban says, “vigilance is not a system.”

One restaurant in San Francisco, whether by design or by chance, has figured out a way to increase the likelihood of 100% adherence. Here’s a photo of the area right in front of the bathrooms:


That’s right: the bathroom sinks are out in full view of the dining public, which places incredible normative pressure on people—whether employees or customers—to wash their hands after coming out.

The restaurant still has the mandatory posters inside the bathrooms, but I’d wager that the risk of public shaming is more effective than all the signs management puts up. It is, in Matt May’s words, an “elegant solution.”

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