If there’s one thing one absolutely never want to see in any establishment serving food, it’s a rat. These filthy, sewer-dwelling rodents harbor a plethora of infectious microorganisms and can transfer a number of diseases to humans, some of which can be fatal. When present in food preparation areas, rats can easily transfer harmful bacteria to food items and utensils, creating a health and safety hazard serious enough to close your restaurant down.
So, how to keep your establishment free from furry invaders and to ensure the cleanliness of both your food and your reputation? Read on for an ultimate guide to keeping rats out of your restaurant.
How to keep rats out of your restaurant
Adopt a zero-tolerance policy on incorrect food storage and mess
Rodents often come indoors looking for food and, once they invade the restaurant, they can damage and contaminate your food, making it unfit to serve. An essential step in keeping rats out of your restaurant is, therefore, proper food handling and storage. Adopt a zero-tolerance policy on food mess, inspecting your kitchen every night before closing to ensure that there are no leftovers, dirty utensils, spills or crumbs left unattended to.
All food items should be sealed in airtight containers and stored correctly (either in the refrigerator or cupboards) to avoid detection by rodents. Waste food products should be wrapped thoroughly before being disposed of correctly (more on that later).
These steps are essential for preventing rats in your restaurant and should be communicated clearly to all staff members and enforced where needed.
Be vigilant about signs of rodents, both inside and outside your restaurant
One or two rats can be swiftly dealt with. An infestation on the other hand, can present a far greater problem. The common rat can breed throughout the year, meaning that these rodents multiply quickly if they aren’t taken care of straight away. To nip any impending invasions in the bud, be on the lookout for:
- Rat droppings
- Chewed wood, paper, or food packaging
- Damaged food stores
If you spot any of the above, either inside or outside your restaurant, take immediate action and place a few rat traps nearby.
Manage the garbage correctly
Food scraps, leftovers and expired food make up the majority of waste produced by restaurant kitchens, which is why it’s so important to manage the garbage correctly. The scent of discarded food wafting from an overflowing trash can bring every rat within a five-mile radius to your door and, before you know it, your kitchen could be overrun with rodents.
Make a firm set of rules with regards to garbage and stick to them; all food scraps should be disposed of immediately, wrapped up securely and disposed of in (preferably sealed) trash cans. These should be emptied regularly throughout the course of the day and cared should be taken to ensure dumpster lids are securely closed after each use.
Keep the exterior of your restaurant clean and clutter-free
Shrubs, discarded recycling and leaf debris can all create perfect habitats for rodents to hide away in. Bushy vegetation and boxes left out back can encourage rats to nest and breed nearby, where they’re only one open door away from gaining access to your kitchen.
You can help to keep rats well away from your restaurant by keeping the outside of your establishment clear and free from clutter. This means trimming back any overgrown vegetation, clearing away any recycling and storing garbage at least 20 feet away from the building. You can also make it harder for rats to get indoors by sealing up any cracks, gaps and holes in the exterior of your restaurant.
Get your staff on board
The most important part of preventative rat control is to make sure everyone working in your restaurant is on board with the rules. Brief all new members of staff thoroughly and be sure to impress the importance of following the protocols you set in place—after all, the health and safety of your customers is on the line.
Keeping rats out of your restaurant is an essential part of running a clean, quality and, ultimately, successful business. Rodent infestations can contaminate food supplies, which can put the health of your customers at risk and may even result in the closure of your restaurant.
Fortunately, keeping rats out is simple once the proper preventative measures are put in place. Keeping your kitchen spotless, managing your garbage correctly and making sure the outside of your restaurant is free from clutter are all vital steps. It I also important to continuously check for signs of rats around your restaurant and act immediately if you detect their presence. Finally, make sure your staff members are on board—successfully keeping your restaurant free from rats requires a group effort.
Kristiana Kripena is the Digital and Content Marketing Director for InsectCop.net, a prominent pest control advice blog. On InsectCop we provide tips and guides on everything from preventing mosquito bites to how to get rid of rat so you can live a happy and pest-free life now.