Think about the last person you would like to meet on earth even if a zombie apocalypse takes place. How would you feel if they pay you a surprise visit?
Not a happy situation, right?
Well, pest sightings are worse than that. If your customer happens to see a pest in your restaurant it will not only result in loss of business and a marred reputation but is also followed by an inspection from the health inspector which might result in getting your restaurant shut down.
So, what can you do about that?
As you might have heard several times over that prevention is better than cure, keeping pests away is the best step you can take rather than having to worry about getting rid of them.
If pests have successfully breached into your restaurant, don’t worry just follow this guide and your restaurant will be pest proof.
But to win any battle, you should have an idea about the enemies that you are going to face.
Let’s take a look at the four most common pests found in the restaurant kitchen.
- Stored-product pests
Most common pests found in restaurant
The most common type of flies found in a restaurant is house and fruit flies.
Houseflies carry more than 100 types of disease-causing germs and they contaminate the food items by tasting through their feet.
Fruit flies feed on decaying items, mainly fruits, and vegetables.
The body of flies is coated in bacteria most of the time and they contaminate the food items by landing on it, which leads to illness such as shigella, E. coli, and staphylococcus.
Rats and mice carry a number of diseases, including salmonella, plague, rat-bite fever and Hantavirus.
To find out if a rodent has successfully sneaked into your restaurant, look for rub marks and other signs, such as droppings, burrows, gnaw marks on plastic pipes or electric wires.
Despite their small size, stored-product pests should never be ignored as they contaminate much more than they can eat which incurs to heavy losses.
In addition to ruining commodities, some species secrete chemicals that alter the flavour of food products, while others cause an allergic reaction if ingested, which irritates the human digestive tract.
Inspection food supplies and storage at regular intervals by employees for signs such as live larvae, webbing, and adult pests, and removing the infested commodity immediately will keep them at bay.
Cockroaches carry an average of 25 disease-producing bacteria that can lead to foodborne diseases such as diarrhoea, pneumonia, food poisoning, and leprosy. They also pick up germs as they crawl through sewage or decaying matter and carry these onto food items.
As if that wasn’t enough, research shows that their excrement and cast skins contain allergens that result in allergies and asthma.
Operating a restaurant is hard enough, having to deal with pests like these is just like adding oil to the fire.
Now that you know what you’re dealing with, let’s take a look at a few steps you can take to reduce the risk of infestation and get rid of pests if already present.
Pests are like Tom Cruise from the movie mission impossible; they can sneak into almost anywhere. So, to catch them you’ll have to turn into Sherlock Holmes.
Don’t worry, just ensure that you perform the following step and you’ll end up being a pretty good Sherlock.
- Keep a black light handy and use it to monitor for the sign of infestations, pest urine and bite marks before taking the shipment inside.
- Inspect for egg cases, faeces, cast skins or live pests in every single place.
- After taking them in, store grain products in a glass jar to monitor for larvae.
- Store dry foods away from the floor and walls.
- Ensure a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit inside your refrigerator.
- Rotate products on first in first out basis.
- Seal all containers tightly.
- If spillage occurs, immediately vacuum or clean.
- Regularly clean appliances and equipment.
- Wash the kitchen floor to get rid of elements that attract pests.
- Use drain cleaners to get rid of pests that hang out in the sink or floor drains.
- Regularly remove waste from all trashcans.
- Keeping them Away
- Ensure that your restaurant’s doors and windows are weather sealed.
- Avoid keeping doors or windows open, unless absolutely necessary.
- Encourage your employees to speak up about pest sightings.
- Consider installing wall mounted fans that will blow air out against pests.
- Ensure that all trash cans have tightly sealed lids.
If you and your staffs work together, you can win the war against pests.
P.S If you think that the situation is getting out of your hand; it is recommended that you call a professional pest management team for expert help.