Rodent infestations are a restaurant’s worst nightmare, yet without proper care and attention, one rodent can very quickly turn into a major infestation. How does this happen, why is it so dangerous, and what can you do to prevent it from happening in your restaurant?
What Attracts Rodents?
Rodents thrive when they have access to food and shelter, and they are attracted to any area where food is available. Since a restaurant is a major source of food, it is hardly surprising that rats will happily move in and make a home somewhere out of sight.
Food scraps, water, unsecured food stores, and poor hygiene are great ways to encourage rats and mice to set up home in your restaurant. Gaps around pipes and drains are common access points for rodents. They can squeeze through tiny gaps under doors and holes in walls. They can also chew through most materials, especially wood and plastic.
If staff leave food waste lying around, in plastic bags, or on work surfaces and floors, it will attract vermin. Once you have rodents wandering around your restaurant, it becomes a danger to public health.
A Danger to Health and Brand
Rats and mice spread diseases like E-coli and will contaminate food and food packaging. Rats and mice urinate and defecate everywhere they go, which could be over food preparation surfaces, in food storage cupboards, and across the tables where your customers eat. You must also be prepared to throw away food and other stock because of the risk of contamination.
In addition to the risk of food poisoning and other nasty health issues, rats are also notorious for chewing through electrical cables. This could cause a fire or lead to equipment breakdown.
Finally, don’t underestimate the damage to your brand if a customer spots a rat scurrying through the kitchen or an unannounced check by Environmental Health leads to a closure notice. Social media is quick to pick up on stories like this and many restaurants never recover from the reputational hit.
How to Spot the Signs of Rodents in a Restaurant
Be vigilant for rodent droppings and urine stains around food stores and any areas where food waste is discarded. Look out for gnawed food packaging, cables, equipment, and pipes. Anyone working at night when rodents are most active may hear scratching sounds in walls and ceilings.
It goes without saying that if any of your staff spot a live rat or mouse in the restaurant, you probably have an infestation, but pay attention if you spot a dead rodent close by. Chances are there are many more hiding in plain sight.
What Should You Do Next?
Don’t try and treat a rodent infestation as a DIY project. Call in pest control London experts so they can deal with the infestation quickly before it gets out of hand. They can advise you on what may have caused the problem, so you can take preventative measures to ensure you don’t have any more issues.
Always have strict protocols in place to prevent a rodent infestation. Kitchen hygiene and safe food storage should always be a priority in a restaurant.