Complete Guide to Commercial Pest Control for Food Service

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Did you know that, according to Memphis Travel, Memphis has around 100 barbecue restaurants? This is an addition to the grand array of restaurants of other types, like those that offer eclectic cuisine, rich soul food, and renowned fine dining experiences.

If you’re a restaurant owner in Memphis, or you run a commercial kitchen, you know how important it is to keep your restaurant guests happy.

So the last thing you want is a cockroach or mouse scurrying between diners’ feet as it makes its getaway from your kitchen.

This is why pest control is so important. If you’ve recently noticed some signs of kitchen pests, or you’re afraid it might happen to you, you might be feeling stressed and worried about the state of your kitchen.

However, with the right information and restaurant pest control, you can make sure that you don’t have any issues with pests anymore.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide. In it, you’ll learn everything you need to learn about commercial pest control for food service. Finally, your restaurant can be pest-free and more successful than ever. Read on to learn more.

The Types of Pest Control You May Need

When you run a restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee, your restaurant is at risk of having an infestation of pests such as cockroaches, rodents, stored product pests, and flies. Some of these pests are dangerous, while others can totally ruin your customers’ appetites.

Cockroaches

Cockroaches are one of the worst pests that can invade your commercial food service company. This is for several reasons. First of all, cockroaches are unsightly and can make your customers swear off going to your restaurant forever if they see them.

They have hairy legs, a hardened body, and long antennae. They’re dark and creepy-looking. No one wants to eat at a restaurant with a cockroach infestation.

There’s an additional problem with cockroaches. They can easily spread pathogens, including those that cause food poisoning.

Additionally, they contaminate restaurants by leaving shed exoskeletons, regurgitated food, and feces everywhere.

The biggest problem with cockroaches is how difficult it is to get rid of them. They’re resilient, so even if you cut them off from water and food, they can survive for weeks.

Fortunately, you can get your roach problem under control with our professional roach control service.

Rodents

Another common pest that food service pest control services often find in Tennesee-based restaurants is rodents. When your restaurant has this type of infestation, it’s possible for these rodents to spread diseases like E. Coli, Listeria, and Salmonella.

Additionally, rodents contaminate restaurants with their urine and feces.

They can also bite through stored food bags, allowing the food to spoil, and they can chew on plumbing and wiring, which makes your restaurant less safe.

Another problem is that if a customer sees a rodent in your restaurant, they’ll immediately think that it’s unsafe or unclean to eat at. Your restaurant ratings will begin to plummet and you could even be reported to health services.

Fortunately, we offer commercial pest management services for rodent control and removal.

Stored Product Pests

Stored product pests may not be visible to your customers, but they can still wreak a lot of havoc in your restaurant. These include mites, beetles, moths, weevils, and other insects that come into your restaurant hidden in packaged products like flour.

Once they’ve arrived, they can multiply within the same package of flour, nuts, or grains.

When this happens, they also eat the product and excrete in it. This creates bacteria that can irritate the digestive tracts of your customers, cause allergic reactions, or alter the flavor of the food they live in.

The problem with stored product pests is that they’re so insidious. Subtle signs of an infestation include adult pests that are visible, larvae, and webbing.

If you’ve started noticing any of these signs, there’s no need to panic. We have commercial pest control services for Memphis area businesses.

Flies

Finally, one of the most common types of pest control services you may need is pest control for flies. In addition to being gross to guests and annoying to wave away, flies can carry many different types of diseases. Usually, they contaminate liquids.

However, sometimes they’re drawn to food. Flies, after eating, vomit the food back up. So this could be a real problem for your restaurant, consider how unclean this is. Sometimes, they’ll also release fecal matter before flying away.

If you run a food processing plant, then we can help you with our food processing pest control service to get rid of those pesky flies.

Common Pest Problems

There are several common pest problems that can occur if you have pests in your restaurant. These include food contamination, damaging the reputation of your restaurant, and hefty fines or closure if you can’t pass your local health inspection.

Food Contamination

The last thing you want is for the food you make to cause your patrons to become sick. Unfortunately, if you have a pest infestation, it’s likely that from their feces or because of the diseases they carry that your food will become contaminated.

In addition to making patrons ill, food contamination can make the taste of the meals you spend so much time perfecting far less appetizing.

Finally, you can lose money if your food is contaminated. You might have to throw out a ton of food that’s been contaminated, such as sacks of flour that have are all full of weevils.

Damaging Your Restaurant’s Reputation

If you have a pest problem, this can also damage your restaurant’s reputation. One bad review on Yelp about a cockroach found in a salad can cause most people to choose another restaurant instead of yours.

Before you know it, you could end up with a dining area so empty that you have to start firing staff and buying produce that isn’t as high-quality as you know it should be.

Worse, you could end up having to close your restaurant entirely. It’s a cutthroat industry, and you won’t be able to break even if rumors about your infestation circulate to all your clientele.

Health Inspection Issues

According to the Tennesse Department of Health, they come in to visit restaurants at least twice a year for inspections. This might be as much as four times a year if there are any red flags that give them cause to come in.

Generally, they look for red flags that something in your restaurant could end up causing a foodborne illness.

One of these red flags, of course, could be an infestation. So if you have one in your restaurant, you could receive a low rating, be shut down, or have to pay a hefty fine.

Usually, a follow-up inspection occurs after any issues have come up. For this reason, it’s important that you deal with your infestation professionally and fast. This way, you won’t have any additional health inspection problems.

The best way is to hire a pest control service, for example, rodent control and removal. In the following section, we’ll review other ways for you to deal with pests in your kitchen.

How to Deal With Pests

There are several ways to deal with pests. It’s all about knowing where to find them, using strategies to avoid them coming into (or near) your restaurant, and how to deal with them if you spot any signs. Let’s review these strategies now.

Exterior Considerations

There are three exterior considerations to think about when dealing with pests. Outside of your restaurant, you want to think about lights, dumpsters, and entrances and exits. When it comes to lights, many insects will be drawn to them.

So if you have an issue with flies outside, for example, and it hasn’t gotten too bad yet, it’s smart to place bug zappers and glue traps around the lights.

This way, you can keep the flies from coming into your building. Another strategy is to change the lighting outside of your restaurant. While the lights can still point at your restaurant, have them installed a little farther away.

This way the insects won’t come close to your building at all, staying in the exterior area.

Dumpsters

Dumpsters are also a popular place for pests to gather. This is because there are so many foodstuffs that are dumped there, which can easily attract many types of animals, such as rodents. To avoid this problem, make sure you buy the right dumpster for the job.

This dumpster should actually hold all the trash you produce. This way it won’t overflow or stay open slightly, inviting intruders to creep in.

You should also ensure that lids are tight. When you wash out your dumpsters, remember to make sure the water to go into an actual drain so that there isn’t any leftover trash residue outside of your restaurant.

Entrances and Exits

Finally, you want to protect your entrances and exits. For the most part, you want to keep these areas closed. Of course, if you have primary entrances or drive-thru windows, it can be difficult to keep these closed at all times.

To avoid insects from flying in, use an air curtain. Additionally, a door sweep makes it difficult for pests to crawl in from beneath doors.

Additionally, inspect your building for any crevices or cracks through which pests could crawl in. Close these up to avoid any future pest control issues.

Interior Considerations

In addition to securing the outside of your restaurant against the invasion of pests, you need to secure the interior of your restaurant. This includes dealing with your storage area, dining and food prep areas, floor drains, and trash cans properly.

Storage Area

In your storage area, you need to keep your dry food products tightly sealed. This is because boxes and bags that are loosely closed are basically inviting pests to come in and make a little home in them. Additionally, you’ll want to:

  • Store food 6 inches or more away from the ground
  • Store food 12 inches away from the wall

By storing it 12 inches away from the wall, you’ll more easily be able to walk around and inspect your storage area for pests. You’ll also want to keep track of stock, taking out the oldest stock first so any infestations don’t spread.

Dining and Prep Areas

In dining areas, wipe off surfaces immediately and clean away the area underneath where people have been dining. In the area where you prep food, clean off splashes, drips, and loose crumbs so the area will be less likely to attract pests.

Floor Drains

Floor drains can easily attract pests, especially flies. After your janitor has cleaned the restaurant, use an enzyme-based cleaner to keep the drain clean. Before doing this, sweep any debris away and clean out the grate itself.

Trash Cans

Finally, you’ll want to manage your trash cans properly. Use a liner in all of them, and make sure you buy trash cans with secure lids. Additionally, clean the trash can regularly. Many people forget that trash can slip between the bag and the trash can body.

Need More Information?

Now that you’ve learned everything you need about commercial pest control for food service, you might need more information. Maybe you’ve noticed some signs of an infestation, but you aren’t sure what pest is causing it and you want help figuring it out.

Or maybe you have an infestation that’s started to get totally out of control.

Whatever you need, we can help. At Inman-Murphy, we’re experts when it comes to pest control. We also offer a variety of pest control services. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us now.

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About the Author:

Chris Murphy is President of Inman-Murphy Inc., one of the fastest growing pest control companies in Memphis, TN.