Beijing has issued the first guideline in the nation requiring that toilets in the restaurant industry receive daily inspections.
Restaurants should disinfect their toilets at least once a day, and check the restrooms every 15 minutes during peak hours, according to a guideline released by the Beijing Food and Drug Administration on Thursday.
It's an important move for the capital to improve the quality of restrooms in restaurants, said Jiang Junxian, director of the China Cuisine Association, adding that it's important for the upcoming Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, which will see many foreign and domestic visitors.
Toilets in the capital's restaurants are often stinky and filthy, Jiang said. "Owners of restaurants have paid more attention to outward appearances," he said. "They rarely make an effort with the toilets."
The association has been designated to implement the guidelines, Jiang said, and it aims to supervise 5,000 restaurants in the capital by the end of the year.
The guideline also detailed the disinfection areas in each restaurant's restrooms. For example, the water tap, hand dryer, sink and air vents should be sterilized at least four times a day to reduce bacteria.
Toilet paper, a waste basket and disposable seat covers should also be available in each restroom, the guideline said.
Some restaurant owners in Beijing have expressed concern about the daily inspection of toilets.
"A property management company reviewed our restaurant's toilet situation," said the head chef at a restaurant in Beijing opposite the University of International Business and Economics in Chaoyang district. "But an examination of the toilets every 15 minutes during peak hours is hard to do. It means a special person would have to be in charge of toilet management."
He added that the cost of such management would be high, and that only a medium-sized or large restaurant would be able to meet the standard.
Shen Xizhu, a 25-year-old white collar worker at Houlang Publishing Co, said she'd had a lot of bad experiences at restaurants in Beijing, especially inexpensive ones.
"Some wastepaper will spill out in the toilets and the mess will stay for a long time," she said.
Dazhongdianping, an online group buying service, will add customer reviews about restaurant toilets in its listings, which will provide a more comprehensive evaluation for customers.
Aybek Askhar contributed to this story.