Beers, Burgers + Bleach – Research participation

The logo is a line of four images: a green pint of beer, an orange toilet, a blue cleaning spray, and a red burger.
Beers, Burgers + Bleach
Hygiene, toilets, and hospitality in the time of COVID-19

Research participants needed

  • Do you work in a restaurant, pub, café, bar, or in fast food in the UK? Or have you worked in any of these at any point since the lockdown in March 2020?

  • Does your work ever involve cleaning, re-stocking, or monitoring customer toilets?

  • Would you be interested in sharing your experiences?

What’s the research about?

We’re a group of researchers who have previously focused on people’s experiences of toilet access away from home. In our recent projects, we noted that a lot of work has to be done to maintain these toilets – and we are now interested in the perspectives and experiences of the people doing this work. This project focuses on the working lives of hospitality staff since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact of new hygiene measures in the workplace, including the additional cleaning and monitoring of customer toilets.

The recent decline of publicly funded toilets has led to a reliance on pubs, bars, cafés and restaurants, which means that toilets in these venues are potentially getting more use. In this research, we’re especially interested in the way the work carried out by hospitality staff may have changed since the pandemic, any new responsibilities or pressures in the workplace, and how staff feel about their work now. New demands and worries have surfaced due to COVID-19, at the same time as increasing uncertainty and instability in the sector.

This study is based at the University of Exeter and received ethics approval from the University’s Ethics Committee (eCLESPsy001975). More information about the project can be found here.

Who can get involved?

Participation is open to all hospitality workers, but we are particularly interested to hear from migrant workers; black, Asian and other workers from minority ethnic groups; disabled workers; and workers with a chronic illness or health condition.

If you’ve worked in hospitality at some point since March 2020, but you are not currently working due to a lockdown, regional restrictions, or for another reason, then we would still like to hear from you. We’re keen to hear from participants across all regional tiers and countries in the UK.

How do I participate?

Participation will involve completing a short work diary, or attending a one-hour interview online/by phone, or both (this is flexible). Everything shared will be treated in confidence and anonymised.

To thank you for your time, you will be given £50 for keeping a short diary and/or £25 for an interview.

How do I get in touch?

If you have any questions or you are interested in participating, please get in touch with the project team: Charlotte Jones, Lauren White, Jen Slater, and Jill Pluquailec.

We’d really value your participation, but we also appreciate this is an especially difficult, stressful, and uncertain time in hospitality. Please feel free to get in touch for a quick chat initially to see if participation feels possible right now – there’s no pressure to commit.


Contact us

Email logo of a closed envelopeEmail:

Phone logo of a green telephone in a circle Work phone: 0783 2279 917 (text or call)

White Twitter logo of a bird in a blue circle Twitter: @cctoilettalk 

              Yellow background with illustrations of two people cleaning. In the centre it says 'call for participants'.      

Further details

Please get in touch to read a full information sheet about the project before you decide whether or not to get involved.

What are the different ways I could participate?

  1. Completing a diary

If you choose to participate you will be asked to keep a diary of reflections on your working day over a two-week period. How you record your diary is up to you – you may wish to write by hand or on your phone or computer, draw, or make an audio recording. We can send you a Dictaphone or a notebook in the post. We will also send you some prompts which may be helpful (a template ‘work log’ and some questions that you can use to guide your reflections), but you don’t have to use either of these if you prefer not to. After completing the diary entries, you will send us your diary by email or by post in a pre-paid envelope we would provide.

We suggest you might want to spend around two hours in total on the diary. You can find your own way of approaching this, but here are some ideas:

  • Write two entries a week, each one following a shift at work. You could spend about half an hour writing/drawing each entry. That would be four in total.
  • Audio-record three short entries a week, each one following a shift at work. You could speak for about ten minutes each time. That would be six in total.
  • Briefly write or audio-record every now and then over a two week period, whenever works for you. This is intended to be flexible and fit your schedule and lifestyle.

We would advise that you avoid completing the diary/work log during working hours. If your workplace is currently closed due to lockdown or regional restrictions, or if you are no longer working for another reason, please let us know and we can discuss how you can complete a diary about your previous work.

2. An online or phone interview

Once we receive your diary we will invite you to take part in an online or phone interview of approximately one hour. This is optional: you can still send us a diary without taking part in an interview, or you can just attend an interview without completing a diary. If you do want to be interviewed, this will be an informal conversation where we will ask you more about your diary entries and work life, and you can share any further reflections and ideas. If you choose to do an interview, it will be audio recorded. During the interview, you can request that we turn the recording device off at any time if you would like to ask a question or make a comment that will not be used in the research.

If you would like to receive the interview questions before attending an interview, please let us know and we would be happy to provide these before we speak.

Are there any other ways I could take part?

If you would like to take part, but prefer to give us your thoughts and reflections in another way, please let us know and we will try to find a way to support this.

Would other people know it’s me in the study? Would my workplace know I’ve taken part?

You do not have to disclose any personal information about yourself – what you tell us (and what you decide not to tell us) is completely up to you. Any information collected about you during the project will be anonymised, so nobody will know that you’ve taken part. We can talk more about how to keep your experiences unidentifiable if this is a concern for you. Your name and contact details will be kept confidential. If you decide to take part in an interview, you can ask to skip any of the questions.

None of the information you provide will be linked to your workplace, and your employer will not be informed of your involvement. In the writing up of the research, we will also ensure you and your workplace will not be identifiable.

Would I receive any payment for taking part?

As a reflection of your expertise, you will receive compensation for your time. If you complete a diary, you will be given £50 for your time (we suggest taking 2 hours on this in total). If you choose to take part in an hour-long interview, you will be given £25 for your time. This can either be paid by bank transfer from the University, or by high-street vouchers if you prefer. This payment is not taxable, and should not affect state benefits, but we would be happy to discuss these options further if you have any concerns.

Additional funds are available to contribute towards assistance costs or childcare, providing we can stay within the current government guidance on distancing measures – please contact us if this might be helpful for you.

Would you facilitate an interview using Sign Language?

If you use Sign Language, we can book a BSL, ASL, or deafblind interpreter for your interview. Please let us know, we would be happy to arrange this and to discuss it with you further.

Can I participate in the research in a language which isn’t English?

Please get in touch if you would like to complete your diary or attend your interview using a language which isn’t English. We would be happy to look into arranging an interpreter or translator and discuss this with you further.

I’m still not sure. How can I find out more?

One of the research team will be available to speak to any potential participants who would like a conversation by email, phone, or video call to provide more information about the project and answer any questions. There is no pressure to commit to participating.

We are also happy to send out our documents by post (e.g. information sheet, consent form) instead of, or as well as, email if this would be useful. If there are other alternative formats that would be helpful to you then please get in touch.

Contact us

Email logo of a closed envelopeEmail:

Phone logo of a green telephone in a circle Work phone: 0783 2279 917 (text or call)

White Twitter logo of a bird in a blue circle Twitter: @cctoilettalk


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