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The restaurant industry is an ideal target for many of the pests found in the UK. If you think about it, all restaurants deal with food and drink. Therefore, there are some key points as to why pest control is so important within the industry.
The two main points I look to discuss in this blog are the law and reputation. Most restaurants look to follow the law to ensure they are not going to get into trouble and end up with court action. Reputation however is extremely important to all business owners.
When we discuss restaurants, we also include in this, pub’s, food outlets such as cafes, takeaways, food vans, and stalls.
When running a restaurant, it is particularly important that you adhere to the law by following the regulations and legislation. There are many when it comes to food such as The Food Safety Act 1990 example. The Food Standards Agency is responsible for food safety and hygiene and works with local authorities to enforce food regulations. They are an independent regulator that inspects premises to ensure standards are being met in relation to food.
Inspectors have a good knowledge and understanding of pest control and recognize the signs of pest issues, all be it a past issue or a current infestation. Not only this but they also understand poor hygiene issues that lead to outbreaks of infestations. An example of this would be a build-up of stagnant water under the sink causing an outburst of drain fly.
Food Hygiene Rating Scheme
It is from these inspections or audits carried out by the local authorities that a premise is awarded its food hygiene rating. These star ratings give clear information about the standards of hygiene within the business which include areas such as due diligence towards pest control. They will expect a food business to have pest control in place. The ratings are a snapshot of the standards of hygiene found at the time of inspection. Therefore, the inspections are normally unannounced.
At all times, it’s the business’s responsibility to comply with food hygiene laws. The inspection covers food handling, keeping food safe, and the condition of the business. When we talk about the condition of the business it looks at the cleanliness of all areas, the lighting, and layout of the site, and the pest control systems in place.
Pest Control Management
They will inspect the pest control folder to check several details. Firstly, the frequency of visits to ensure enough pest control checks are being carried out. They will look at the plan to establish where all the monitoring points are to ensure it’s adequate. They will read the most recent treatment reports to identify any recent activity.
If the inspection does not go well and urgent improvements to hygiene are required, enforcement of improvements will be issued. Advice will be given complete with a timeline for improvements. If on later revisits it is evident that the improvements have not been made to the required standard the business may be closed and a monetary fine may be issued. This is all to protect consumers.
Loss of Reputation Which leads to a Loss of Revenue
By not having a proactive pest control contract in place, a business puts itself at risk. That risk is not just about having a possible pest outbreak but also a loss of revenue. You can’t put a price on an outbreak of a rodent or insect infestation. To put it into context, a busy restaurant full of customers and a cockroach turns up on a table. Alternatively, a mouse runs scared across a restaurant floor. This type of problem will immediately get reported upon and the authorities may close the site if it deems it unsafe for customers to eat. This will immediately cause a loss to revenue. Not to mention if there is a financial punishment in the form of a fine.
What is worse than this is if the local press gets hold of the story, it will no doubt turn up on the internet somewhere. Having dealt with many restaurant owners, there is nothing worse than a loss of reputation. You can spend years building a reputation and an excellent client base. It only takes a needless pest issue to damage that reputation in no time at all. A business will lose customers and it doesn’t matter how quickly the recovery is; the stigma will stick around. A pest control contract will reduce the risk of anything like this happening.
Pest control in a restaurant is not just about monitoring for pests. When pest-tech.org looks after a restaurant we have those awkward conversations and report on areas of development. We constantly look at ways to improve measures and implement proactive procedures to maintain high standards. We help by advising on activities such as cleaning, storage of food, and maintenance of the building. It is these types of activities that maintain a safe and pest-free environment. Therefore all restaurants should engage with a pest control company in relation to pest management.