How Do I Keep Rodents Out of My Restaurant?

Food critics from Pixar aside, having rodents in your restaurant is a worst-case scenario. Rodents contaminate food, destroy property, and disrupt business. Prevent rodents from entering your restaurant by maintaining a clean environment, sealing your perimeter against infestation and partnering with a trusted pest control expert.

Mice and rats are resourceful opportunists. They have heightened senses that allow them to easily locate new food sources and the uncanny ability to jump, climb and squeeze into tight places to reach them. They’ve even been known to chew their way into refrigerators. Luckily, prevention is on the menu and Assured is serving up a lot of helpful tips.

The Dangers of A Rat or Mouse Problem in Your RestaurantA rat scavenges across a restaurant table.

Rats and mice carry and transmit over 35 diseases. They spread these maladies through direct touch, urine, feces and saliva. Because you prepare and serve food for human beings, a rodent in your restaurant poses a serious health risk. Not only do you not want customers to see rodents while they are dining, you also don’t want them to become sick from contaminated food.

Rodents are destructive by nature. Mice and rats burrow and nest in warm dark areas like basements, storerooms and between walls. Once inside, they are prolific breeders who populate quickly. They gnaw on just about anything from yesterday’s leftovers to your refrigerator’s cord. Rats’ teeth never stop growing and they are voracious, life-long chewers to keep them in check. The destruction doesn’t stop until the problem is eliminated.

The city of New York inspects restaurants annually. Any violation that could contribute to foodborne illness, such as visible signs of rodents, earns a penalty of five points. An inspection total of 13 points or less earns you an “A” rating to be posted in your front window. A score of 14 or more could earn you a “B” or “C” rating and requires you to improve your rating within 3-7 months. It only takes a few rodent violations to affect your reputation and impact business. 

How To Prevent A Rodent Infestation in Your Restaurant

Stopping rodents begins with a clean environment inside and out. Keeping the exterior of your restaurant tidy is as important as the inside. Just like a good review brings customers in to dine, a free meal in the alley alerts rodents to the buffet inside. To reduce your appeal to furry four-legged foragers and limit their ability to wreak havoc upon your restaurant:

  • Cover trash and keep garbage cans and dumpsters clean and secure. Your waste is most likely the first beacon rodents are attracted to. Once they discover a trove of food outside, they’re more likely to move inside.
  • Properly store food in sealed containers. Even if rodents do get inside, if they don’t have access to a sustainable food source, they’ll likely move on.
  • Maintain a clean workspace. Scraps, crumbs and odors attract attention. A clean environment minimizes temptation and reduces risk of disease.
  • Seal cracks and holes. Rats and mice can crawl through the tiniest openings, even as small as a dime. They can also climb to hard-to-reach spaces that you might not expect them capable of. Caulk any opening where they may get in. Repair screens and cover vents.
  • Traps and baits. There are a variety of ways to catch and kill rodents. Some may have value, but rats and mice are smart and can develop bait aversion. Check traps frequently and carefully remove captured rodents to prevent health risks.

Mice are herbivores who love grains and seeds. Rats are omnivores who will eat nearly anything. Both are tenacious in their appetites and love dining out in new places. Prevent mice and rats from making your restaurant their new favorite by reducing your appeal.

See the New York City Guide to Best Practices in Pest Proofing for Food Service Establishments for more tips on how to stop a rodent infestation in your restaurant. It includes a comprehensive checklist to help you keep pests out and pass your health inspection.

What if I Have Mice or Rats in My Restaurant?

Have you already seen the telltale (or tell tail) signs of mouse or rat infestation in your restaurant? These include:

  • Holes in walls
  • Nests
  • Grease marks along walls
  • Droppings
  • Scratching noises

If so, it may be time to reach out to a pest control expert who can quickly address the problem and prevent further intrusion. Restaurants don’t have the luxury of putting off pest control, your livelihood is at stake. 

Get Rid of Mice and Rats in Your Restaurant

At Assured Environments we love to discover a good new hole-in-the-wall restaurant, but we don’t want to discover a hole in your restaurant’s wall. Let us thoroughly inspect your property to ensure rodents don’t get in. We’ll eliminate rats in the kitchen and mice in the refrigerator to make sure your four-star rating maintains its good standing. Call or contact Assured Environments today!