13 July 2022

Top 10 tips to avoiding pests in restaurants

A pest infestation is something that every restaurant owner wants to avoid. Pest problems can have a devastating effect on the success of a restaurant, on both a short and long term basis. Pest Control in London due to the close proximity of people and buildings can be particular difficult to keep on top of.

Pests scurrying around the place that your food is prepared isn’t something anybody wants to think about. However, things must be put in place in order to avoid this becoming a reality in restaurants.

Food safety

Food safety should be at the forefront of a restaurant owner’s mind and pest infestations can cause a restaurant to be closed by local councils, sometimes on a long term basis, due to the risks posed towards customers. The knock on effect this has for a restaurant can be devastating with lost profits from customers and of course the financial loss of replacing the damaged and/or infested food items. Not forgetting the damage to the restaurant’s reputation that even the best marketing efforts can’t always prevent. Pests have also been known to chew through electrical cables which can cause a restaurant black out, leaving lots of unhappy and hungry customers.

Of course the biggest risk to a pest invasion for foodservice establishments is that they can contaminate food, spread diseases and cause food poisoning, making customers and staff unwell. This is something that everybody from the restaurant owner to the customer want to prevent however, restaurant pest control should be something that anybody working within food safety should consider.

Food hygiene legislation states that businesses must ensure there is protection in place against pests and restaurants must have adequate procedures in place for pest control so it’s integral to ensure this is something you are on top of.

What pests can be found in restaurants?

Unfortunately, a restaurant is often the perfect breeding ground for many pests and the four pests most commonly found are rodents, cockroaches, ants and flying pests such as flies and even birds.

There are often lots of ways that these most common pests can access restaurants and cause a serious pest problem including through the many doors and windows, air vents, floor drains and even food deliveries that are a part of the restaurants.

So, what can you do to avoid restaurant pests?

The good news is that there are ways to prevent pests from causing a restaurant pest infestation and by ensuring you have preventative measures in place, you’ll be confidently keeping pests away.

Top Tips on Restaurant Pest Control

1. Regular deep cleans

One of the most effective ways to avoid pest infestations is to carry out deep cleans and regular inspections, particularly in pest hot spots such as dining areas, restaurant equipment, window sills and trash cans.

As part of the inspections, we recommend to analyse site usage to determine areas that may need a deeper restaurant clean more frequently. An effective way to ensure this is adhered to, particularly for the hot spots, is to introduce a cleaning rota that the Manager is responsible for checking is completed each day.

2. Store food properly to avoid food poisoning

Assortment of grain products and pasta in glass storage containers on wooden table. Healthy cooking, clean eating, zero waste concept. Balanced dieting food.

In order to avoid new pests joining you in the restaurant, we recommend having dedicated food storage areas for food and other supplies.

The stored food should be kept in airtight containers, not only to help with pest control but also to help keep harmful bacteria from growing too. Plastic or glass containers are best as they keep the food fresh, stay firmly closed and aren’t easy for rodents or insects to chew their way through either.

In addition to this, the food should be stored off of the floor and on a surface that is as far from the ground as possible, making access for pests harder.

3. Regular inspections from dedicated pest control

Sometimes pests such as rodents, crawling insects such as cockroaches or even flying insects including flies, can be hiding away in areas within a restaurant that the untrained eye may not think to look.

By organising these inspections from a pest control company, you can ensure that any pest activity is spotted quickly and can be dealt with as part of a pest management process before the pest issue becomes a serious problem.

Experts are trained to find pests including rodents, flies and cockroaches in even the trickiest of places where they have created their own safe haven.

4. Install fly screens

Mesh screens are a great way to install fixtures that help avoid a fly infestation. They can be installed on doors and windows so that even on the warmer days when you need these open, you can avoid flies and other flying insects from making their way into the restaurants. 

5. Dedicated food preparation areas

Food preparation areas are often a spot in restaurants that are known to attract pests. With food debris and food particles floating around, the space can quickly and easily become an area with flies, insects and rodent problems.

In order to avoid an infestation in the restaurant, it’s important to eliminate all of the things that pests love. By ensuring that food is prepared in the dedicated area only, you reduce the risk of food debris from being trailed around the restaurant, making it easier to avoid pest problems and increase food safety.

In addition to the dedicated area, avoid pest problems by ensuring the food preparation area is cleaned deeply and frequently before the shift, regularly during the shift and at the end of the shift too. All food should be disposed of in the trash cans and no matter how busy the shift is, should never be left out on the sides to clear later.

6. Waste control

Restaurant waste is unavoidable. Whether it’s food packaging, leftover food or used napkins, a restaurant often has lots of waste to dispose of.

Unfortunately, waste is one of the main causes of restaurant pest problems and is known to attract pests who love to rummage through the bins to find leftover bits of food, particularly rodents.

In order to avoid a rodent problem or infestation from any of the other pests lurking about, we recommend a storage area that is dedicated to your waste as well as separate bins for items such as food leftovers, food packaging, etc.

Make sure that the trash cans inside are taken out at the end of each shift to remove the waste and temptation for pests from the restaurant. However, make sure to have your waste storage areas away from your outdoor dining area where customers will be eating and may drop food.

It’s also important to ensure that the bins have securely fitting lids. You’d be surprised of the strengths pests muster up when they find food on offer.

7. Mind the gap

It’s a known fact that pests including rodents, flies and insects can squeeze through even the smallest of gaps, especially when looking for food.

In order to prevent pest infestations, restaurant owners should ensure that no gaps are accessible for these pests to find their way into the establishment.

Doors should fit their frames tightly, drainage and gaps around pipework should be secured in order to stop rodents making their way through and any cracks in walls, floors and ceilings should be filled before they become home to a family of insects.

These preventative measures for restaurant pest control will help avoid an infestation, giving restaurant owners one less thing to worry about.

8. Use by dates

Whilst it may seem obvious from a food safety point of view to ensure all food is used within its use by dates, it’s also a vital part of pest control for restaurants.

Stock within the restaurant should be rotated regularly in order to ensure there is nothing going mouldy and providing a smell that will attract pests.

9. Staff training

One of the most effective ways to ensure pest control within a restaurant is to train staff on the importance of this.

By ensuring staff understand the impact a pest infestation could have on the restaurant, they are more likely to support the restaurant’s efforts at deterring the pests.

Training the staff on procedures including regular checks and frequent cleaning such as cleaning spillages immediately will all help in the effort to prevent pest infestations.

In addition to this, staff should be made aware of the procedure for if they spot a pest infestation and should be trained on the signs so that they know what to look for. Signs include:

  • Presence of pest faeces, including small speckled droppings
  • Gnawed holes, goods or packaging
  • Animal footprints
  • A musty smell within the restaurant
  • Presence of pest eggs, particularly attached to wooden surfaces
  • Urine stains
  • Dead carcasses or live vermin, especially in dark areas or at the back of the cupboard

10. Outside seating

If your restaurant has an outdoor seating area, this can be a bit harder to stop pests from visiting as you can’t control the area as easily.

However, to avoid pest infestations, it’s important to ensure that the outdoor area is a part of the cleaning schedule for the whole restaurant. With it being outside, it can be easily missed however by doing so, you may be creating the perfect feeding, and breeding, spot for pests.

Bin Storage

In addition to regular cleaning of the outside dining area, you should also keep any bin storage well away from the area.

Conclusion on Pest Infestation

By implementing all 10 of these tips, you can help reduce the chance of a pest infestation. However, it’s important to know that if you do spot signs of any pests within the establishment, you should call a professional and dedicated pest control company.

As professionals, we are trained to deal with infestations in the most effective, and quickest manner and have access to tools that you do not.

Food safety is of the utmost importance and with pests carrying harmful bacteria including salmonella, avoiding this is vital. Once a pest has made its way into a space where they have a food supply, other pests will quickly follow and it can quickly become a breeding ground. This is why at the first sign of an infestation, you must act. You can’t afford a delay.

The good news is, infestations can be dealt with. With the right tools and equipment, and professionals on your side, pests can be removed from the premises however the restaurant will need to be closed during this time. The quicker the infestation can be dealt with from the first signs, the less time it will take and of course the quicker the restaurant can safely reopen.

How can we help?

We are also able to support you to come up with a long term plan to avoid any further infestations and to ensure you have the procedures in place to limit the damage. Plans can include traps and bait and our tailored advice will help determine what will work best for your establishment and have the best desired results.

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