The main priority of a restaurant owner is the safety and satisfaction of employees and customers. One of the most common causes for restaurants shutting down is pest infestations. Restaurant owners must take precautionary measures to ensure pests never invade their eateries. 

If you’re worried about pests invading your establishment then you’ll want to read the information in this article. We’ve provided valuable tips on how to prevent or get rid of pests in your restaurant. Don’t let your restaurant become a haven for roaches and rats. Keep reading to find out more about pest control!

What Causes Pest Infestations in Restaurants? 

To prevent pest infestations, you must first understand what causes them. Then you can take precautionary measures to ensure your restaurant doesn’t attract unwanted critters. Here are the most common causes of pests in restaurants. 


Restaurants have garbage that rodents, flies and cockroaches want. The food scraps that your restaurant throws away such as potato peels or leftovers can attract unwanted pests. This is especially true if you leave garbage bags inside your kitchen. 

Stagnant Water 

Leaking pipes or water from basins can attract rats and mice because these rodents are always looking for a water source. Even dripping water outside your restaurant can attract pests. Additionally, stagnant water can attract flies and gnats. 

Food Scraps and Dirty Dishes

Rats, cockroaches and ants are always looking for a food source. Some pests such as ants and rats have a highly acute sense of smell. Therefore, they can easily sniff out an area where there’s food

Your kitchen may become a breeding ground for pests if you leave food scraps and dirty dishes lying around constantly. Restaurants can get busy so sometimes scraps fall behind tables or counters which can go undetected and could attract pests. 

Unsanitary Conditions 

Dirty floors, counters, fridges and pantries can attract flies and cockroaches. If you haven’t cleared out garbage in a while this can also attract unwanted pests. Dirty kitchens are a serious health hazard for both employees and customers. 

Risks of Pests in Restaurants 

There are several risks pest infestations can impose and you’ll want to avoid them at all costs. If you weren’t serious about pest control before, you will be after reading this section. 

Health Hazard 

Pests such as rats can carry several harmful diseases that include: 

  • salmonella 
  • Lassa fever 
  • Leptospirosis 
  • Plague 
  • Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever

Bugs can carry viruses and bacteria that can cause microbial diseases and infections. Pests can scurry over dishes or chomp on food which can infect your customers. Even employees handling dishes and food that were contaminated by pests can be infected. 

Loss of Business 

If customers find out you have a pest infestation they may not come back to your restaurant to eat. Your revenue will drop significantly as customers slowly start to decrease. Customers may even warn others not to support your business because of your pest infestation. 

Affects Your Reputation 

One of the ways restaurants attract customers is by building an excellent reputation. Your establishment’s status will plummet immediately if customers find out you have a pest infestation. This is because pests have long been associated with unsanitary practices. Customers will believe your restaurant is dirty and isn’t worth their money. 

Affects Your Health Inspection Score  

Health inspection is done regularly on restaurants to ensure they aren’t a safety hazard to the public. Any violation can dock points off your score and affect your grading. Pest control makes up 20% of your health inspection score. If you don’t meet the requirements for pest control, you could become a C or D grade restaurant. 

Pest Prevention in a Restaurant 

Another factor health inspectors look at is how your restaurant is set up to prevent pest infestations. If you have garbage or scraps laying around this can affect your health inspection score. So, here are tips to prevent pest infestations in the restaurant:

  • Clean dirty dishes regularly 
  • Throw away all food scraps 
  • Remove garbage bags from the kitchen 
  • Fix leaking taps or pipes that create stagnant water 
  • Clean under counters 
  • Keep your fridges and pantries locked with airtight seals
  • Store food away from walls and at least six inches off the ground
  • Sanitize workstations immediately after use 

Educating Staff on Pest Control 

Prevention is always better than cure. However, some staff members may not know that their habits can attract unwanted pests. That’s why it’s important to train your waiters and kitchen staff. Here are tips to assist you: 

  • Teach staff how to wash dishes properly. 
  • Train all employees on how to keep the kitchen clean and sanitized. 
  • Encourage staff to organize municipalities to come and fetch garbage outside the restaurant regularly. 
  • Train your staff on how to detect certain pests and how to report them. 
  • Provide your staff with training on how to prepare your kitchen before pest control arrives. 

What to do If You Already Have Pests 

If you already have a pest infestation in your restaurant it’s best to not take matters into your own hands. Don’t use bug spray around your kitchen because it can contaminate your food. Instead, call in a professional pest control service to assist you with your problem. Pest control companies know how to safely rid your establishment of all pests.  

What Restaurants Need to Do Before Pest Control Arrives 

Pest control services use specific chemicals and processes when eradicating your restaurant of unwanted bugs and rodents. So, it’s important to prepare your restaurant before they arrive. On the other hand, some companies will provide advice on how to prepare for their arrival. 

First, ensure that you book a date for pest control services so that you can close your restaurant for that day. Let your customers know beforehand when you plan to close your restaurant and classify it as routine maintenance. Now follow these steps before pest control arrives: 

  • Clean away all garbage bags
  • Remove live plants or animals away from the area 
  • Seal fish tanks if you have them in your restaurant 
  • Place all food in airtight containers 
  • Ensure your pantry is closed and all foods are covered. 

After Pest Control 

Pest control services can remove dead pests such as rats to prevent maggots, flies, and odor from affecting your restaurant. However, if you notice dead ants, cockroaches, and flies in corners, take the necessary action to clean them up before you open your doors to customers. 

Additionally, you should rewash all dishes and cutlery to ensure they are free from any chemicals that were used during the pest control process. Wipe down all tables and chairs and ensure all food preparation counters are cleaned before using them. 

Final Thoughts

It’s always best to leave pest control to the professionals because you don’t want to risk contaminating your food. Furthermore, you don’t want to risk making rats or cockroaches panic by setting traps or spraying chemicals because they can come out of their hiding places and scare customers away. 

Professional pest control services will come and inspect your restaurant and provide the best solutions to getting rid of your infestations. Use this guide to help you prepare for pest control services and to prevent infestations so you can maintain your establishment’s excellent reputation.