Where there’s food, there are pests — it’s an unfortunate truth all restaurant owners face. The abundance of snacking opportunities, ideal moisture and temperature conditions, and sites perfect for harboring critters, creates plenty of potential for unwanted dinner guests.
Whether it’s flies in your dining room or rodents in dry storage, unwanted pests will be a bust for any business. A significant pest problem will even prevent you from complying with the necessary health department regulations to keep your restaurant open to the public.
Fortunately, most of these problems can be avoided with a few security measures and proper pest control.
(Not a restaurant owner? We have plenty of tips to keep pests out of your home pantry, too.)
Common Problem Areas and How to Protect Them
The main pest concerns in any restaurant are cockroaches, stored product pests (like beetles, weevils and moths), flies, and rodents. Once you identify the main problem areas in your restaurant, it’s easier to develop a strategy for managing pest infestations.
Outdoor Dumpster Areas
These places are an open invitation to pests if waste disposal isn’t handled properly. And once they’re in your garbage, it’s only a matter of time before they follow the food trail to get inside the kitchen — especially if you leave the door open for them to fly or crawl through.
To protect the dumpster area:
- Make sure all bags are sealed before being thrown away
- Firmly close dumpster lids when they aren’t in use
- Clean additional food debris from the area
Drains and Cleaning Supply Storage Areas
Places that collect moisture, such as sink and floor drains and cleaning stations, are the perfect breeding ground for flies. Flies feed on any food left in these spaces, and where they feed, they will breed. Before you know it, you’re restaurant will be taken over by flying pests.
To protect drains and supply spaces:
- Dry cleaning equipment before putting it away
- Keep drains clear and free of organic matter
- Store mops and hoses away from food preparation areas
Food Storage Areas
Open food containers attract cockroaches and ants, so proper food storage is a must. Your dry storage facilities and main kitchen space are at high risk for insects looking for a tasty treat. Cracks, crevices, and hollow areas in equipment legs are all typical havens for roaches, ants and mice.
To protect food storage and your kitchen:
- Keep dry storage areas clean and tidy
- Follow proper food rotation procedures (“first in, first out”)
- Seal obvious cracks or voids, and try to block hollow areas from cockroaches or rodents
How to Treat an Infestation
Some unwanted guests, like rodents and cockroaches, leave behind obvious clues of their presence, while others, like moths and beetles, are more stealthy. For stealthy pests, a few well-placed glue boards should do the trick. If pests have found their way into your restaurant, you have a few ways to send them packing.
Baits and liquid treatments can be a good temporary fix, but the full spectrum of drain management, as well as termite control, from a pest professional will provide a long-lasting treatment.
Keep in mind that steam, heat, moisture, and grease — all of which are found in a restaurant— can reduce the effectiveness of many products used to control pests. So proper application and continued follow-up is a must.
Hopefully the tips outlined here will help you avoid any major problems, but if a large infestation should occur or if you want advice on how to better prevent pests in your restaurant, remember to call a pest professional at Arrow for a thorough inspection.