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Keeping Pests Out Of Your Restaurant

We all know pests are attracted to any place where there is food. Rats, cockroaches, weevils, etc, those unwanted, uninvited notorious visitors must either be prevented entirely from entering your kitchen, or hastily eradicated if they do get in there. The most common ones include:                         

     Rats    – carry serious diseases such as Leptospirosis with them, and can also cause structural damage to your building and equipment within it by gnawing at wood and wires.

     Cockroaches – hard to eradicate due to their natural resilience and their laying of poison-resistant eggs. They carry diseases such as dysentery, polio and typhoid.

     Ants – certain species of ants, such as the Pharaoh ant, carry similar diseases to that of the cockroach.

     Flies – feed on waste and transmit disease through their bodies.

One of the worst nightmare scenarios for any food business entrepreneur is definitely a customer spotting a rat or large insect in your restaurant. This could have huge ramifications for your business. The customer knows, just as you do, the health risks from a pest.

There are regulations in place governing the preparation of food, and if your restaurant is kept to these standards, you will most likely never have a pest problem. However, some places in your kitchen may be overlooked.

The waste collection area

Rats and other pests thrive around dumpsters – they love damp, dark spaces where there’s a plentiful supply of food. Therefore, the bins should be cleaned regularly, inside and out – even if you use the best bin bags on the market, there will still inevitably be leakage of fluids inside the bin. Cleaning a large dumpster can be hired out to a contractor if you would rather not do this yourself.

Many people choose to use traps around their outside rubbish area, as traps are largely thought of as the most humane way of killing rats and mice. If you do this, check the traps regularly, as when an animal dies in one, it will decompose and attract insects. Again, the whole trapping process can be done by a contractor, as it may obviously be messy work.

The cleaning equipment cupboards

These can become damp and dark and thus appealing to a pest, despite the less obvious sources of food. Some insects feed on fibres like the ones found in mops, so mops should be cleaned regularly and hung up to dry. Make sure your cleaning equipment is always stored a long way away from your food preparation area. If it’s not, move the whole cupboard and everything in it. Don’t let your staff who use the cupboard become complacent – everything in there should be cleaned, dusted and dried regularly.

The food storage area

Use common sense – make sure bags of things like flour and sugar are firmly sealed when not in use. Clean up any spillages as soon as they appear using warm soapy water.
If there are any cracks or holes in your walls, ceilings and floors, seal them up immediately.  Pests could be living in them, or using them to come in from the outside.

The food preparation area

Make sure there are no hard-to-reach places in your kitchen that could have food spilled down them. If there’s a gap between the worktop and the oven, for example, fill it in! Even if this means having to shift your heavy equipment, it’s better to be safe than sorry. As in your other rooms, clean up all spillages as soon as they are made, and make sure all your staff know they must do this!

If you do, despite precautions, find pests in your kitchen, you need to hire somebody to remove them. A good exterminator will work with you to find the source of the infestation, and make sure it doesn’t happen again. They can also recommend the best way of controlling the infestation you already have.

If you want to remove the pests yourself, be very careful and do a lot of research beforehand. Only use non-residual insecticides if you plan on closing the restaurant for a short time while the area is cleared. Look into the best sort of traps for killing rodents – many exist, including snap traps, glue traps and electrocution traps.

Bottom line is, make sure you get the best service and/or best resources and equipment possible when it comes to pest control in a restaurant. Even if it’s expensive, it will guarantee peace of mind – and this guarantees peace of mind for your customers as well.

Find this interesting? Check out these other blogs:
Spring Cleaning Tips For Restaurants
Setting Up A Colour Coded Cleaning System
Simple Steps To Save Money And Minimise Waste

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