Nobody likes to wait in line for the bathroom, but sometimes that’s just the way things are at big, busy venues like stadiums and airports. Entrepreneur Allen Klevens couldn’t accept this fact of life, however, and set out to fix it with his new product Tooshlights. These small beacons rest at the top of a bathroom stall door and glow red if the space is occupied or green if it’s free. Klevens hopes this clever stop-and-go system will drastically speed up the average public restroom visit by as much as 50 percent.
He got the idea from a Los Angeles parking garage that used the same green-and-red light technique to alert drivers to open spaces. But as Klevens cheekily points out, at Tooshlight, “We don’t park cars. We park, um, other things.” Soon after launching, the company landed its first big client: the Hollywood Bowl, L.A.’s iconic 17,000-seat open-air concert hall. Klevens claims that lines at the venue’s women’s restrooms stretch far out the door, with waits often exceeding the 20-minute intermissions. Despite the long queues, the bathrooms usually have open stalls that go unnoticed by patrons who don’t see them among the wall of identical closed doors.
Although the lights are only operating in one of the Bowl’s restrooms, patrons are already raving about the timesaving lamps. What’s more, Tooshlight-enabled stalls also eliminate such awkward interactions like knocking or peaking to see if a space is occupied. And though the Bowl is Klevens’ biggest client so far, his opportunities for growth are limitless at this stage. He is currently working with venture capitalists to launch a second generation of Tooshlights in select NBA, NHL and NFL stadiums within a few years. Future iterations of the lights are being designed to perform other functions, too, such as flashing when a team scores or if intermission is about to end. By year’s end, Tooshlights will be advising restroom patrons in more than 2,000 stalls across the country.
- What key marketing principle helps companies like Tooshlights grow?
- Can Tooshlights prevent competitors from entering its market?
Source: Andrew Bender, “The New Technology that Could Cut Public Restroom Wait Times by 50 Percent,” Forbes, June 30, 2014. Photo by Tooshlights.