What You Need To Know About Restaurant Pest Control

What You Need To Know About Restaurant Pest Control

Guests aren’t the only ones dining in restaurants. With food and water abundantly available, restaurant kitchens can easily sustain many different types of invasive pests. This guide will tell you what you need to know about these invasive and unwanted diners.

Protect your reputation, your guests’ health and your bottom line with these proven restaurant pest management tips.

Read More: Choosing a Restaurant Business Structure

Why Restaurant Pests Are A Problem

Those who’ve worked in many restaurant kitchens know that pest infestations are a common occurrence. While it may be common, complacency is not the answer. The costs of letting a restaurant pest infestation go unaddressed are far more than the cost of eradication.

Once your restaurant becomes infested with a pest it will become increasingly difficult and costly to get rid of the invaders and the damage they can do.

Failure to control pests can result in many unhappy circumstances for your restaurant. Health code violations can shut down your business. Guests who see pests in your restaurant are unlikely to return. They will tell their friends and family about their “disgusting experience”, damaging your reputation.

Will your business ever recover from online reviews outing your restaurant’s pest infestation? What if people get sick from the germs and bacteria spread by pests that are let to run wild in your restaurant?

The Most Common Restaurant Pests

Rats and Mice — They spread germs by defecating and crawling on surfaces used to prepare food. They chew through wires causing an electrical fire hazard. They eat through containers and bags used to store dry goods, making them available to insects.

No one wants to find a rat hair or mouse poop in their food. You owe it to your customers to protect their health and the trust they’ve placed in you.

Cockroaches — An incredibly resilient pest. Small amounts of grease and water are enough to persistently sustain a cockroach infestation. Even after eliminating the sources of food for roaches they can live on for weeks and months scavenging and surviving on what’s left behind.

Roaches spread disease because of their affinity for eating garbage and decaying matter. They are covered in salmonella and other germs that can spread to your customers' food, causing a serious breakout of food-borne illness.

House Flies — House flies eat by regurgitating their stomach contents onto surfaces and sucking up their bacteria infested vomit. They carry the germs and bacteria they acquire from the garbage they feast on into your restaurant, contaminating food and countertops along the way.

Because they fly, they can be hard to control once they get inside your restaurant. They will continue their mission of spreading their germs and disturbing guests’ dining experiences. Diseases carried by houseflies include typhoid, dysentery, and cholera.

Read More: What You Need To Know About Restaurant Pest Control

Stop Pest Infestations Before They Start

The best pest control method is to never let them in, in the first place. While it may seem like a burden to uphold extreme standards of cleanliness, creating an inviting environment for pests makes harder work later.

To keep your restaurant pest-free:

  • Clean all grease and grime nightly
  • Thoroughly sweep and mop to remove all crumbs and food debris
  • Wipe up spills and splashes from walls and surfaces
  • Get every nook and cranny — rotten food sludge in crevasses and corners is a pest’s feast!
  • Seal up any entryways for pests to get in using expanding foam
  • Keep the dumpster area as clean as possible and close the lids
  • Never leave out food prep containers without an air-tight seal
  • Wash all dishes, pots, and pans
  • Clean out all drains and traps
  • Take out all the trash every night
  • Clean garbage receptacles where bags have leaked
  • Keep doors and windows closed so they can’t sneak in
  • Dispose of expired food before it becomes rotten

The key to keeping your restaurant pest free is removing all food sources that pests can feed on.

How To Rid Your Restaurant Of Pests

But what do you do once your restaurant has already become infested? First, start with the cleanliness procedures mentioned above. By removing the sources of food and water that roaches, rats and other pests live on you can start to starve them.

However, they will not leave without a fight! Nasty restaurant pests won’t like giving up the free meals you’ve been providing them.


  • Make sure window screens are secure, without gaps
  • Install fly paper and traps with attractant
  • Keep doors closed, especially those located near the dumpster
  • Dispose of trash as far from the kitchen as possible
  • Don’t leave bags of rotting food and trash by the back door
  • Clean the dumpster area and keep the lids closed when not in use

The dumpster is the primary feeding and breeding ground for your fly infestation. By addressing the things that increase the fly population you can reduce the number of flies in your restaurant.


  • Keep everything clean!
  • Don’t leave any standing water or liquid
  • Find the cracks they hide in and fill them
  • Set traps with attractant
  • Hire an exterminator

Since roaches can live for so long without food or water -- even weeks without a head -- a roach infestation is very difficult to address once it takes hold.

Rats and Mice:

  • Keep all food in sealed containers
  • Look for early signs of rats (chewing debris and rub marks on the walls)
  • Set baited traps and check them frequently
  • Use lethal traps to avoid re-infestation
  • Seal any holes they can crawl in through
  • Hire an exterminator

Using poison in the vicinity of food is not an option for restaurants. It’s illegal and you don’t want your customers’ meals to get contaminated with rat poison. The best option for dealing with a rodent infestation is to set spring-loaded traps. Just make sure to check them daily so you don’t have a rotting rat carcass in your kitchen attracting other pests.

Read More: Choosing a Restaurant Business Structure


Restaurant pests should be taken seriously. Although they are common in many restaurants, they can cause serious damage to your reputation, your guests’ health, and your bottom line.

The best solution to managing restaurant pests is prevention. Do not make your restaurant an inviting place for pests to make their home. Do this by holding to fastidious cleaning standards, keeping garbage away from the restaurant and sealing up the cracks and holes pests invade from.

If your restaurant does have an infestation, it’s important to address it early and aggressively. Follow the recommended cleaning procedures, set lethal traps and consider getting help from a professional exterminator.

For more helpful tips for running a restaurant visit our free online resource library for restaurants. For more information about Rezku visit our homepage. Rezku is a leading restaurant management technology service provider. Contact our helpful team today for a free consultation.

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