Pest Sightings: How They Affect Your Restaurant’s Reputation and Bottom Line

The fast-paced world of foodservice often requires juggling hundreds of details at once – one of those details being pest management. If overlooked, a dated pest management program can cause a domino effect on all aspects of your business. Your hard work can go out the window with a single pest sighting or infestation, resulting in negative online reviews and a decline in reservations. In fact, a recent survey of restaurant patrons across the United States found that 56 percent of diners are likely to take to the Internet after a pest sighting to write a negative review.

The likelihood of losing a loyal customer increases with the number of pests spotted, as well as how close in proximity the pest is to the customer or their food. Restaurant patrons who responded to the survey reported a low tolerance for pest sightings, as more than half expect a discount on their meal if they spot even a single pest in the restaurant. Additionally, 81 percent will never return if they see a pest on their plate and 76 percent will never return if they see multiple pests anywhere within the restaurant.

It’s important to note that a successful pest management program is not a one-time event, but an ongoing team effort from a restaurant’s pest management provider and staff (especially since health inspectors can show up at any time to execute your next health inspection). Incorporate the following four tips into your regular sanitation efforts to help eliminate the likelihood of pest sightings:

  1. Moisture attracts insects and rodents, so clean up spills and fix leaks immediately.

  2. Pests feed on grease and grime, as they are sweet and sticky snacks in their eyes. Scrub floor drains weekly with a brush and an organic cleaning solution. After cleaning, remember to replace the trap and cover.

  3. Small amounts of food waste can attract pests. Never leave full trash cans or unwashed dishes overnight, remember to line and cover trash cans with tightly sealed lids and empty them daily.

  4. Pests such as cockroaches can sneak into restaurants through openings as small as 1/16 of an inch. Seal any holes or cracks in your building with weather-resistant sealant. Inspect door seals, thresholds and sweeps at least monthly and replace them as soon as wear is noted.

Want to learn more about how pests can affect your restaurant's experience, potentially even causing a shutdown from the health inspector? Then read our free Health Inspection Guide.

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