As a restaurant owner or manager, pest control is an important aspect of maintaining a clean and safe environment for both customers and employees.
Health and safety, and environmental regulations, mean that managing and controlling pests has to be a number one priority. In fact, in the UK restaurants, cafes and other food establishments are regularly inspected for their health and safety practices, including hygiene – and any organisation found to have no pest control in place could face prosecution, fines of up to £20,000 and being forced to shut down operations.
Pests such as rodents and flies not only pose a health hazard, but can also damage the reputation of your establishment.
At Shield Pest Control we’ve worked with a wide range of different clients within the food and hospitality industry, helping them to ensure that their establishments always meet the strict health and safety regulations.
In this article we’ll take a look at how you can manage pests and keep them at bay.
- Keep the kitchen and food preparation areas spotless
Hopefully it goes without saying, but if you run a food business your kitchen should be kept spotlessly clean at all times. Not only does this ensure that food is prepared in a hygienic environment which limits the risk of nasty bugs and bacteria, it also helps to prevent pests from being attracted to your kitchen area.
If a pest discovers a plentiful supply of food, it won’t be long before they set up home. Therefore, you should make sure all food items are stored in airtight containers and are properly labelled with their expiration dates. Clean up any spills or crumbs immediately, and sweep and mop the floors regularly. Make sure all dishes and utensils are washed thoroughly and stored in a clean, dry place.
Ultimately, a clean kitchen is the first step to preventing pests from finding a food source.
- Ensure all employees are appropriately trained in health and safety
It is the role of everyone who works within the business to ensure that the premises is kept hygienically clean and within health and safety regulations. As a result, its important that all employees have appropriate training and fully understand the requirements set out by law.
All employees should be trained on pest control best practices, such as keeping the kitchen clean and tidy, properly storing food, and reporting any pest sightings to management. Encourage your employees to be vigilant and report any signs of pests immediately. Communication is key to ensuring pests do not become an issue.
- Implement a pest control plan
As part of your commitment to health and safety and your employee training strategy, it’s important to have a pest control policy in place.
This should be clearly communicated to everyone involved in the business, outlining what is expected of your employees. You may want to consider this as part of their induction process, and ensure that this is written down and highly visible to anyone who works for you. A good idea is to have posters outlining your health and safety practices displayed throughout the staff areas. Make sure all employees are aware of the plan and know what to do in case of a pest sighting.
Having a well-defined pest control policy will help to keep your restaurant free of pests and maintain a clean and safe environment for your customers and employees.
- Ensure rubbish is disposed of correctly
Pests are attracted to food sources and one of the biggest culprits is rubbish which is not disposed of correctly. As a food business, it is likely that your restaurant or café produces a lot of food waste. If this waste is left lying around, it can quickly become a tasty meal for rats, mice, flies, foxes and other pests.
Additionally, you should never leave rubbish bins lying around outside your establishment overnight. Many pests are most active during the night (including foxes and rodents), therefore this is the time when they will come out and scavenge for food. If they find food scraps around your property, they’ll continue to return for meals every day until it is cleared up!
Therefore it is imperative to have a robust food waste disposal strategy in place. This could include designated food bins which are securely fastened and are cleared out regularly. You should also ensure that you have a professional waste management company in place which regularly picks up your food waste, either privately or through your local council.