Pest Control

Have you ever gone to a restaurant and notice something scurrying across the floor? Maybe it was a cockroach or a mouse. Similar to any other customer’s reaction, you may have lost your appetite. Any type of rodent or insect is a sign of trouble.Insect problems can occur in even the cleanest and most sanitary working conditions. Keeping your establishment at a high level of cleanliness is ultimately the best way to help prevent such a problem. For the most part, restaurant owners need to know what they can do now and what they can do when insects become a problem.

An occurrence of pests can lead to a negative impact to your restaurant.

  • Bad word out mouth which more than likely will lead to a drop in new and repeat customers.
  • Turning away immediate customers as appetites are lost.
  • Damage to equipment and furnishings, electrical, phone and data cables from gnawing rodents that can chew through almost anything.
  • Fecal contamination which can lead to sickness and health risks to your employees.
  • Possible closure of the restaurant from the Health Department.

What is the Root Problem?

You may have tried using an insecticide at one point and it may have worked. Sure you may be thinking if it worked last time why should I change? Insecticide products and brands such as Raid are good in the short term. What may seem like a quick inexpensive way of getting rid of insects may in fact be very costly. A small problem may lead to a larger one causing more damage to the restaurant in terms of lost customers, equipment damage and health risk factors to your staff. In the long term, doing it yourself may not be the wisest choice or best solution for a restaurant. Insecticide products such as those purchased in a department store only mask a problem but shortly after the problem will reoccur.

A prime example how a self bought insecticide could backfire is applying it on the pharaoh ant, a common pest in many establishments. When a pharaoh ant is stressed, it quickly builds new colonies as a form of defense. What may have started out to be one colony may lead to an invasion of your entire restaurant. In order to prevent or eliminate the problem, you need to know the root cause of it.

Insect and Rodent Hot-spots

Understanding the root cause of a pest problem is to know where insects and rodents live and feed on. The first step is to inspect your entire restaurant and search for potential entry points or problems that can be repaired. Hot-spots for insect infestation include doors and windows near trash receptacles, food storage areas, frequently damp areas or anywhere that food is temporarily stored.

Steps for Prevention

Any type of insect or bug is an inconvenience that can cause damage to your restaurant. Training your staff is critical so that every person is aware of the root cause of insect/rodent infestation and the steps to prevent it. Here is a list of simple procedures you should follow to prevent the most common types of pests:

Fruit Flies

  • Kill fruit flies as they emerge.
  • Fruits and vegetables should remain in a cooler.
  • Discard old shipping boxes as soon as possible.
  • Implement a daily cleaning schedule which includes cleaning all equipment, furnishing and floors.
  • Ensure you have tight-fitting lids on all garbage cans.
  • Any mops or washcloths used should be placed in an area to dry. Mops should be upside down and while washcloths should be hanged.


  • Discard any food debris and clean up spills immediately.
  • Never store firewood, unused equipment and other unnecessary things next to your building. Ants like to place nesting sites in these areas.
  • If your restaurant is stand alone, ensure all shrubs and trees are not within contact of your restaurant.
  • Eliminate any food trails.

Rodents / Occasional Pests

  • Repair and seal cracks in walls or any openings in which feed pipes, cables and wires through.
  • Ensure you have tight-fitting lids on all garbage cans and disposals. Try and keep it far enough from your restaurant.
  • If your restaurant is a stand alone, keep the exterior clean and free from trash.
  • Install weather stripping on all doors leading to the outside.
  • Ensure tight screening on weep holes and vents.

Action Plan

Don’t be fooled if you don’t see any pests around your restaurant. There will always be bugs around and more than likely they are behind the scenes where you can’t see them. Leave it to the professionals to inspect your establishment. You must be proactive in order to control any occurrence of pests. Hiring a Pest Control Management (PMP) company is only a couple hundred dollars a month depending on the size of your restaurant. This may sound a lot, but it will be nothing compared to the lost when damage has been done. PMPs are there to help you design and implement a program. So put away those store bought insecticides and eliminate the Do-it-Yourself approach. A professional is there for you.

My personal Advice

When choosing a Pest Control Management company, know what kind of programs can be offered to you. A responsible PMP will ensure the safety of your employees, their employees and your customers. Ensure appropriate times are set for any chemical spraying required. The fumes of the chemicals can be overpowering and cause sickness and even drive customers away. If possible, set a time a couple hours prior to opening or after the restaurant has closed. This will enable your PMP to spend more time in problem areas and focus on eliminating them.

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