When you’re in the hospitality business running a café or a restaurant, the presence of pests creates an unsanitary environment that is unsuitable for public service. When pests are ignored in a restaurant or café environment, they can lead to expensive and dangerous Health and Safety code violations.
Even without the looming threat of the Health Department, if one family who frequents your venue as a part of their weekend ritual, spending $100 at each seating pulls their business from you after experiencing a cockroach running across their table, you would be losing $5,200 per year in revenue.
The main culprits for compromising restaurant and café sanitation are often cockroaches, drain flies, and rodents.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an integral part of the pest control industry as we shift towards preventative measures for long term pest control, rather than remaining purely reactive each time pests are seen.
Whilst there are some instances where pests can’t be avoided, such as cockroaches being transported from a supplier’s goods, there are plenty of other times when the businesses have more or less hung neon signs saying “Pests Welcome” with the environment they create.
Here are our 9 big don’ts when trying to keep your restaurant or café pest free:
Dirty pots and pans left overnight
Ensuring that every pot and pan has been thoroughly clean at the end of last service isn’t hitting the Gold standard – it’s just standard.
Pots and pans that are full or scraps, sauces and residue is an open banquet for pests who are busy looking for a food source.
Keep bins sealed overnight
If bins are not taken out every night before close of business. If you have bins that only have a few scraps in them and you don’t want to waste a bin bag, tie them up tight so they are inaccessible to even the smallest of pests.
The actual bins themselves (not the bin bags) can end up with a rather nasty build up down the bottom. Make sure these are rinsed out and dried properly on a regular basis.
Keeping the floors clean
Whilst most establishments we visit clean their floors every night, they don’t get stuck into the problem areas.
We often see areas underneath or at the back of washing and cooking equipment go untouched due to uneasy access during cleaning. Food debris, fat and grease builds up in these areas as well as bits and pieces like loose plastic, straws, cutlery end up being kicked underneath, creating a party zone for cockroaches and rodents.
Replace Dry Foods into Plastic Containers
We see a lot of business owners and managers allow bags of produce to be folded over or pegged close. Dry produce needs to be completely sealed otherwise they provide a fairly easy access food source.
Ensure that dry foods are kept sealed in containers and that they are off the ground.
Stacking boxes on the floor
Whilst getting storage racks to seems like just another unnecessary business cost, it’s vital to keeping a clean and uncluttered environment. Cockroaches love cramped and dark areas, they’re the absolute opposite of being claustrophobic, and will make a B-Line for your makeshift storage area.
In a kitchen environment, nothing should be kept on the floor.
Unused or rarely used dishwashers
If any dishwashers are out of service or are not being used to save costs, just be aware that if they are still linked into the plumbing that moisture from linked pipes will rise and build up inside of that unused dishwasher. This creates a cramped and humid environment which is a potential harbourage area of choice for German cockroaches.
Clean out fridges
Fridges for your beverages won’t need this much attention, but fridges that contain food must be emptied and the floors and walls thoroughly cleaned at least once a week regardless of whether they are front or back of house.
You won’t even realise how many leakages or scraps from vegetables from months ago have built up at the bottom of food storage areas. Ensure that this is someone’s responsibility and can be held accountable if they are not following through.
Don’t use DIY sprays
If you want to spray a can that you’ve picked up from Bunnings in your own home, that’s your business, but spraying those products around a commercial food business is irresponsible.
We’ve seen our fair share of café owners using cockroach bombs at night when they close up without covering up all cutlery, crockery, tables, glassware, preparation equipment, the coffee machine, bench tops and so on. These are all areas where residue from that spray will reside and can easily result in food contamination and customers getting sick from your venue.
Using cockroach bombs also presents a potential fire hazard if gas burners are not turned off.
Consider monthly pest control services
Yes, it’s another cost to your business, but it could end up saving you thousands in fines and the loss of disgruntled customers. Even the cleanest restaurants and cafés are at risk to pests through transportation of goods or can make their way over from neighbouring buildings or other shops within your complex.
If you’re considering monthly pest control for your business, give Maxwell Robinson & Phelps a call for an Integrated Pest Management service that you can rely on.