Where there are available sources of food and water, there will inevitably be pests. This is an unfortunate truth, especially for restaurant owners. Restaurants harbour perfect conditions from which pests can thrive. They have an abundant availability of food, just the right moisture and temperature conditions, and enough nooks and crannies that may serve as shelters.
As a business owner dealing with food, safety, and satisfaction of staff and customers are always the top priority. Any less than ideal handling of food service could lead to financial problems, loss of business, and even troubles with authorities. To keep your restaurant up and running, it is best that you keep your place pest-free.
Tips for Restaurant Pest Control
Pests in restaurants are common, but this does not mean you have to be complacent. Letting them run over the business can be costly and will only be more difficult and damaging in the long run. Failure to control pest infestation has unfortunate repercussions for your restaurant and can even hurt your reputation.
Fortunately, there are several ways you can address this. Here are a few tips to get your restaurant prepared for pest control:
- Identify the Pests
If you sense that unwanted guests may have infiltrated your restaurant, the first step you need to take is to identify the culprit. Your plan is dictated by the type of pest you have to face. Each pest has specific characteristics, behaviours, and threats. As a result, your solution must also be designed specifically for them.
The most common restaurant pests include:
Rats and mice are unsightly and can be an unsettling sight to anyone they encounter. Besides that, rodents can damage products, equipment, and structures. They can chew on wires, which can become a fire hazard. Their droppings also contain germs that can contaminate food and utensils. Visible rodents running around your area can deter customers from returning to your restaurant.
Cockroaches are notorious carriers of bacteria and can also cause asthma and allergic reactions. The danger of cockroaches is that they can breed quickly. They can creep into small cracks and corners and ride on boxes and other containers. Before you know it, they have completely invaded your space.
- House Flies
Flies can get into your restaurant through doors, windows, cracks, and other openings. They carry germs and bacteria and can contaminate food and countertops as soon as they land on them.
There are several types of ants that can become a problem for restaurants, so identification is key to apply the proper treatment. Ants live in colonies. As a result, they can easily swarm the restaurant and get into food. Additionally, some species can have incredibly painful bites.
- Stored Product Pests
Stored product pests are those critters that arrive in your restaurant together with your food shipment. They will eventually take room and board in your shelves, cabinets, and cupboards. Stored product pests include moths, weevils, and beetles. These pests can leave behind eggs and larvae, contaminating food items.
- Know Your Problem Areas
Pests can occupy almost any space. It’s crucial that you ascertain where they live so you can target your pest control efforts. Different pests need different conditions to survive and will likely reside where conditions are ideal. Whether they are flies, rats, or bugs, knowing their potential breeding spots will allow you to develop a more efficient strategy.
For restaurants, the main problem areas are:
- Dumpster Areas
If waste disposal isn’t managed carefully, these open dumpsters are invitations for pests to come. Food wastes, particularly, coming from your restaurant are a source of sustenance for these creatures, and it is only a matter of time until they can follow the food trail to your kitchen.
When disposing of garbage, make sure that the bags are sealed and the dumpster lids are firmly closed. Do clean the food crumbs and debris in your area to leave them no path to your restaurant.
- Drains and Cleaning Supply Storage Areas
Pests don’t only need food; they also look for water. Drains, pipes, sinks, and cleaning stations collect moisture and serves as the perfect breeding ground for them. Before you know it, your cleaning areas may not be that clean after all.
Always dry your cleaning equipment before storing them. Ensure that drains and pipes are unclogged, and put a distance between your supply storage and your food preparation areas.
- Food Storage
Restaurants tend to have huge food storage areas, which if left unchecked, can attract several pests, like cockroaches and ants. So, storing them properly is a must. Even the smallest opening in food containers put your facility at risk for infestation.
To protect your kitchen, keep your storage area clean and organized. Follow a clear food rotation procedure, such as “first in, first out,” to avoid your ingredients from spoiling and decaying. Lastly, seal any cracks and hollow areas to block access.
- Keep the Interior Clean and Pristine
It is no surprise that keeping your restaurant clean and pristine is an important step in pest control. Pests go to where food is readily available to them, and any garbage or leftovers are just exactly what they need. To keep this from happening, your dining area has to be cleaned every day, and any food residue has to be removed.
Similarly, your kitchen also needs to be organized and clutter-free. No food should be left out in the open. Garbage bins should be tightly sealed and emptied regularly. Finally, floor drains and any sources of moisture must be dried and cleaned properly.
- Determine the Damage
Pest infestation has warning signs, and you need to be vigilant about it. If you find any sign of a pest problem, act immediately. Did you find any droppings, shredded materials, signs of chewing on food packaging, or holes through walls and floors? How large is the damage? What kind of pest is it?
No matter the size or extent, you have to act quickly. Call a pest control specialist immediately before it ruins your food service.
- Monitor Your Storage Area
When storing large amounts of ingredients, it is imperative that you monitor your storage area regularly. Inspect your containers and food packages and throw out those that are past their expiry date. Old and spoiled food attracts all types of insects. Bacteria can also develop in decaying food, which can then cross-contaminate the good food within your storage facility.
- Develop an Action Plan
The best restaurant pest control measure is a preventive measure. Having a plan of action in place allows you to deal with pest infection efficiently. It is also important that you have someone trained to handle these situations. Your manual must contain a step-by-step process, equipment, and substances needed. If you have to use a pesticide, for example, make sure that it follows rules and regulations. You can also have the contact number of a trusted pest control specialist at the ready.
- Follow Safety Regulations
Most importantly, you should abide by food hygiene and safety regulations to avoid infestations. Many of these laws contain preventive measure against contamination. It outlines how the foodservice industry must go about monitoring their activities, training employees, and handling food preparation and storage. Keeping up with these regulations not only makes your business compliant but also ensures that your restaurant is safe for people to visit.
Pest infestation should never be taken lightly, especially when your business depends on quality and safety. If you are a business owner and looking for restaurant pest control services to keep you safe from pest, visit JDM Pest Control. Our company has been serving commercial and residential buildings in the Greater Toronto Area for over 20 years.
Call us now at (416) 729-3568 for a free assessment and get $25 off!