With summer road trips and vacations in full swing, a survey reveals which gas station brands have the highest-rated restrooms making them the best bet when one must make a pit stop.
Utah-based Maverik secured the top spot in six states, according to a recent GasBuddy survey. QuikTrip, which topped last year's survey, finished tied for second with Wawa each finishing in the top spot in four states. Irving, Kwik Trip and Sinclair each topped the list in three states. The state with the highest gas station restroom ratings overall is Nebraska.
In Kentucky, the top finisher was Pilot. In surrounding states, Sheetz took the top spot in Ohio and West Virginia. Wawa was best in Virginia, Pilot in Tennessee, Casey's General Story in Indiana and Kelley's Market in Illinois.
According to GasBuddy's survey, 40% of travelers fear needing to use the restroom but not knowing where to find a clean one -- an increase of 3% from 2018.
"Many of us have memories of being handed a restroom key attached to a hubcap, but the 'dark ages' of gas station restrooms are over. Today's customers demand quality," Frank Beard, convenience store and retail trends analyst at GasBuddy said.
Beard said another GasBuddy survey found that more than two-thirds (69%) of consumers would visit a retailer who promotes a commitment to clean, quality restrooms.
He added today's convenience retailers are evolving into destinations for proprietary foodservice and specialty snacks, and are now competing with quick-service restaurants, coffee shops and more.
"Many of those competitors have already invested in high-quality facilities," Beard said. "If you follow the major convenience retailers like Sheetz, Wawa, Love's Travel Stops, Cumberland Farms, GetGo and more, you'll see that they're investing in state-of-the-art stores while prioritizing cleanliness and quality customer experiences. We already know that it makes a difference. GasBuddy data have shown that stores with above-average outdoor lighting ratings -- which are submitted in our mobile app -- can attract as much as 50% more visits than their below-average competitors."
Beard said GasBuddy decided to add ratings and review to its app in September 2016 and look to see if any trends stood out. He said restroom quality is trending upward.
In the third quarter of 2016, 46% of convenience store restrooms were rated positive. In the first quarter of this year, the share of positive ratings had risen to 56%. Negative ratings also declined from 14% to 9% respectively, while there was a slight decrease in neutral sentiment.
"This goes to show that consumers have less to worry about when stopping to use the restroom at a gas station," he said. "At the same time, many of the top retailers are regional -- meaning travelers are often unfamiliar with the brands they encounter on their trips. That's why lists like ours are so useful. You can also just use the GasBuddy app to see what other customers say about a station before you stop."
To see the full list of top gas stations in each station, visit https://www.gasbuddy.com/NewsRoom/PressRelease/782.
Jonathan Greene is the editor of The Register; follow him on Twitter @jgreeneRR.