It can be dangerous to guests' health, as well as their perceptions.

It’s a problem plaguing most major cities, rats out in the open. They are leaping out of dumpsters, hunting for food. But what about restaurants? What happens when customers leave and the place closes for the night? Popular restaurants are the hotspots for tourists and residents alike. But in the wee hours, they are a popular hangout for food-loving rodents.

Rodent infestations can be dangerous to your health. When rodents invade your restaurant, the accumulation of their feces can spread bacteria, contaminate food sources, and even trigger asthma and allergic reactions in people. Rodents defecate constantly, so their droppings can accumulate quickly. Once fecal matter becomes dry, it’s hazardous if you breathe it in. In addition, rodents can bring other pests. This includes fleas, mites, ticks, and mice.

One of the most common bacteria spread by rodents’ feces is salmonella. This happens especially through the consumption of contaminated food. Professional rodent control is necessary to completely eliminate pests. But here’s what restaurants can do first to keep things under control.

Here are four steps you can take to avoid rodents in your restaurant:

Look for Signs of Rodents

You may not spot a rodent walking past the kitchen sink. But, you could definitely pick up on signs that would suggest their presence.

Here’s what you shouldn’t turn a blind eye to:

Chew Marks

Rodents are always nibbling or chewing on leftovers out in the open. And this ability leads them to restaurant kitchens with ease. Check for chew marks along walls, pipes, ceilings, and attic storage areas. Chewed holes could be smaller than an inch, making it very easy for rodents to invade your restaurant.

Stains on Walls

Rodents carry grease and debris with them as they brush past walls and other surfaces. This leaves behind odd stains and marks on their chosen entryways and areas they may have attempted to invade.


Rodent droppings are one of the most common signs that suggest their presence. Their feces are long and light brown or dark black. And it also carries urine odor, a smell you can simply not tolerate. Droppings are usually found in rat nesting areas, but they’re also frequently found in food storage rooms and cabinets. They also like hiding underneath refrigerator units and dishwashers.

Diligent Facility Maintenance

To ensure a pest-free zone, here are some steps for facility maintenance to prevent pests from invading your restaurant:

  • Inspect the restaurant’s exterior for cracks, it may suggest a pest’s entryway. A hole larger than a pencil should be filled with weather-resistant sealant.
  • Limit landscaping near your restaurant’s entrance. If you do have landscaping, keep it a good three feet from your restaurant. Rodents thrive in thick vegetation, making them easily unnoticed.
  • Other than rodents, there are other pests that you may be attracting. Grow flowers and shrubs that are not sweet-scented and brightly colored to prevent flies and stinging pests.
  • Install an automatic door to make sure it remains closed when not in use. Fix door sweeps to keep openings, gaps, and cracks under the loading dock or delivery doors sealed.
  • Place dumpsters a good 15­–20 feet away from your restaurant.
  • Clean wash bins and pick up fallen trash at least once a week to ensure the area remains dirt-free.

Educate Your Staff

Educating your staff to practice the right maintenance steps will ensure an even safer environment for you and your customers. But teaching them to be proactive will only come with practice. Conduct on-site training with the help of a pest management professional who can provide real-time solutions for problem areas. They’re well-trained to identify pest hotspots and will teach your staff to practice proactive techniques to eliminate rodents and other common pests.  

Prevention Tips

In addition to the above tips, here are a few more to-dos we think you should also consider to effectively eliminate pests. Let’s take a look:

Regularly look for signs of infestation both indoors and outdoors. If you notice rodent droppings, unusual odors, chewed wires or boxes, it’s important that you call commercial pest control that can treat the problem.

Keep your kitchen utensils, food, and storage areas completely clean. Remember to dispose off fallen food and keep the floors clean.

Protecting your staff and your customers is a priority. If you notice signs of pests, actively look around for a possible pest infestation. One visual sighting or a complaint by a customer can cost you all the years of reputation.

Expert Takes, Feature, Food Safety