Restaurants thrive on the quality of the food they serve. No doubt a soothing, welcoming ambiance and a professional, efficient wait staff contribute to a patron’s pleasant dining experience, but it is ultimately the food that will keep them coming back, often with friends and family in tow. Just as easily, one pest sighting can doom a restaurant. Nothing ruins a great meal faster than the scurry of little grey mouse feet caught from the corner of an alert diner’s eyes, or a fly buzzing about annoyingly in the dining area. To help keep your restaurant pest-free and your diners burping contently, remember these three simple rules.
Clean, Sanitize and Seal your Restaurant Kitchen
Cleaning means getting rid of debris on the countertops, throwing away the garbage, or moping the floors; in other words, it is eliminating clutter and waste that are readily visible. Sanitizing means getting rid of germs and bacteria that are invisible; those that thrive even on clean countertops and especially in wet kitchen towels and sponges. Use bleach to wipe down all kitchen surfaces and hot water when using the dishwasher and washing machine for your kitchen towels and restaurant linen.
Once you are confident you have a clean and sanitized kitchen, keep it that way by sealing it; i.e., preventing pests from gaining a foothold. Check to see that screens are not damaged, doors shut tight and the area right outside your kitchen is free of garbage, spoiled food and dirty pools of water – all of which are excellent sources and breeding grounds for pests of all shapes and size.
Make Cleanliness Everyone’s Priority
It is easy to get caught up in roles in a restaurant kitchen. The sous chef, the line cook, the bus boys and the wait staff – they all have specific duties to perform, and rightly so. Running a restaurant kitchen is hard work; everyone needs to carry out their specific duties in order for the kitchen to function efficiently. Unfortunately, sanitation police is not a specific kitchen role. When no one is in charge of cleanliness, it can easily fall to the wayside.
In other words, while it is the duty of the kitchen drudge to mop and sanitize the floors, the cook and the sous chef can make sure they keep their immediate area clean as well. Likewise, the bus boys (and girls) can take extra care when emptying plates into the garbage cans so that little or no food particles end up on the floor. Encouraging everyone to be responsible in their own way for cleanliness and sanitation in the kitchen greatly increases the odds of having a pest-free kitchen.
Observe Proper and Adequate Food Handling Guidelines
The restaurant business is overseen by the Health Department, which has specific guidelines for proper food handling in a business establishment. A low rating can have a serious negative impact on a restaurant’s overall profitability. Following these guidelines ensure the safety of diners and maintains the professional integrity of the restaurant.
In many ways, maintaining a pest-free restaurant kitchen is a job for professionals. But in the interest of truly enjoying a great meal and having nothing come between a dining patron and the pleasure of fine cuisine, it is imperative that everyone in the restaurant business be a deputized and active member of the sanitation police.