Some thoughts about a few things I noticed about the men’s bathroom in the standalone Starbucks on NJ-17S:

  • Give guests a way to tell when bathroom is occupied: How useful it would be to have a lock that displays a red/green “Occupied/Empty” label, similar to the ones in airplanes. Since this particular Starbucks has doors with handles with built-in “push” locks (I don’t yet know the technical name for this kind of handle or lock), the labelled lock mechanism might be separate and also would require the user to touch another thing, which is notable because I’d personally want to touch as few things as possible within the bathroom. I’d prefer to replace the current handle with a single mechanism that incorporates a handle, lock and also the occupied/empty sign; I imagine this has to have been tackled by some designer somewhere. This is the biggest item that I thought could improve the Starbucks experience for all guests because it would eliminate the knock-on-door ritual that restroom-waiters do.
  • Standardizing the touch-free environment: While I quite like the motion-activated energy-efficient hand drier in the bathroom, I think the bathroom could also use a motion-activated toilet, motion-activated faucet, and motion-activated soap dispenser, all of which are currently manually activated. The point of this would again be to minimize the amount of things that a (theoretically) germ-laden user would have to actually touch.
  • Motion-activated lighting is pretty cool as it saves users from activating/deactivating the light, and saves employees time from having to remember to turn on/off the light.
  • General question: I wonder why there’s a rectangular metal plate attached to the bottom of the (wooden) door both on the inside and outside. From the outside, it makes sense because one could use their foot against that plate to push the door open, but once on the inside the user has to pull the handle to open the door. I wonder if the inside plate is just to provide some kind of protection against the doorstop attached to the inside wall of the bathroom; if so, why wouldn’t a smaller piece of metal suffice?

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