While pest control can be a problem for any commercial establishment, restaurants are especially prone to these unwanted visitors for obvious reasons. Pest control is not only important because of the necessity to abide by specific regulations to ensure a sanitary environment, but to keep customers happy and maintain a good reputation. One survey found a customer is likely to tell at least five people about a pest sighting at a restaurant, while three in 10 said they would never come back to an establishment if they saw a cockroach. Here are just a few helpful tips to keep pest problems in check.
Your pest control efforts will only be as effective as the efforts put forth by your staff, as many of the risks are directly linked to human errors in food handling and sanitation. It is imperative you educate your staff about the risks of pests and how to keep them away. Knowing the dangers they pose will make them more vigilant about prevention. Make checklists of tasks to be performed, and a way of tracking when items have been properly serviced. Make sure they know the clues to an infestation, such as eggs, or materials commonly used for nesting.
Conduct Regular Inspections
A key to controlling infestations is making sure proper measures are being taken to control infestations, and catching them sooner than later, before they become a real problem. Your best bet for accomplishing this goal is to conduct regular inspections—at least once a month—that take into account temperatures in the food processing area, any problems with the building that might allow pests to enter and take up residence, sanitation practices and any other element that would impact the presence of pests. Check screen vents and repair as necessary. Make sure the circulation and air intake systems are properly maintained and powered. You can do this on your own, or you can schedule an appointment with commercial pest control service that will do this for you on a regular basis, and give recommendations.
Dry, Clean and Inaccessible is the Name of the Game
Without a way in, pests can’t get to all that sweet food and water they are after. If they can’t get to said food and liquids, they won’t be drawn to the restaurant in the first place. So, the simple steps of limiting access, keeping the area dry and clean can go a long way. Sounds easy enough, but restaurants frequently drop the ball. All it takes is some improperly cleaned equipment or a leaky garbage bag. Clean garbage cans daily. Remove drain covers and remove any debris that made its way under the grates—scrape out any gunk that may have accumulated.
Whoever is responsible for cleaning the dining area should make a habit of wiping down booths completely and getting in the cracks; sweep the area after each party leaves.
Proper food storage is paramount. Dry goods should be placed in tightly sealed containers. Food should be kept at least half-a-foot off the ground, and on shelving units. Keep stored items away from the wall.