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'Starbucks of toilets' makes splash in Thailand

Amid COVID wave, Mister Loo chain of public pay potties emerges as winner

Mister Loo co-founders Andreas Wanner, left, and Dominik Schuler at the company's toilet facility in Bangkok. (Photo by Marimi Kishimoto)

BANGKOK -- A chain of pay public toilets has emerged as a major winner amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Thailand. The facilities are operated by Mister Loo, a Swiss startup that aims to become the "Starbucks of toilets." With public awareness of hygiene growing as the deadly virus spreads, the operator of upscale toilets is winning popularity in Southeast Asia by emphasizing their cleanliness.

"It's very clean, and there is no bad smell. It's worth spending 10 baht (33 cents)," Chanyarot, 48, said, after using a restroom operated by Mister Loo in a shopping mall in Bangkok's Chinatown. The wood-paneled booth is well air-conditioned, with popular Thai music playing in the background. A fragrant aroma fills the room.

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