Rats In The Restaurant

May 24, 2024 | Prevention

Rats in the restaurant?

This is the worst nightmare for any Restaurateur. A report of an infestation on the evening news is a guarantee of closure and permanent loss of business. Even if you do everything right, such as having a licensed food handler, contact a reliable pest control service, and have a dedicated staff that follows all the right food handling rules, just one sewer pipe break can cause an uncontrolled rat infestation.

Just one rat sighting can seriously damage your restaurant’s business…

Think of these impacts on your business:

  • Panic – as sightings by customers or media reports can lead to immediate loss of your customers and employee trust.
  • Damage – serious damage of equipment, foodstuffs, and your reputation. Concerns about health and hygiene.
  • Financial loss – financial loss can be considerable. There could be temporary or permanent closure, and pest control expenses.
  • Legal problems – if you failed to comply with health and safety regulations. You could be served with fines and law suits.

Rats (mice too!) are notorious for getting indoors. They can force themselves through the tiniest crack in a structure.

  • Locate entry points and seal them with expanding foam like Pur Black Foam or a barrier like Stuf Fit Copper Mesh.
  • Do not let vents become another entry way for rodents. All vents should be screened with ¼ inch or smaller metal mesh.
  • Keep your dumpster area as clean as possible and keep lids tightly closed when not in use.
  • Eliminate hiding spots outdoors by keeping grassy areas mowed and not letting landscape plants overgrow.
  • Use rodent bait stations near dumpster and along outdoor walls.
  • Use plastic one-way rodent proof valves in toilets to keep rodents from coming into your restaurant.

Pest control professionals do not recommend poisoning rats in a restaurant. Rats might die inside in very hard to reach places where they will smell as they decompose and attract flies, roaches and other pests. It is best to use glue boards and snap traps to get rid of rats. Always wear gloves when handling rat carcasses.

Knowing that your Restaurant is clean

Bad, filthy restaurants happen! It should not be yours, especially if you want to serve the public and make a good living.

Filthy Basin where Rats Reside
Filthy Basin where Rats Reside

It is up to you do do something about in now!


Rat in Taco Bell crawling on floor under customer table
Rat in Taco Bell crawling on floor under customer table

As a restaurant owner and operator, you may bring in a service to deep clean or do your own deep cleaning in-house. Always remember that what you do in-between deep cleanings matters too. You just cannot forget about regular site maintenance!

Restaurant Cleaning - Necessary to keep out rats
Restaurant Cleaning – Necessary to keep out rats

Owners often forget to check out their competition. We recommend owners and operators visit nearby restaurants regularly. This allows them to judge how their location stands up to the competition in cleanliness.

We think the following check-list will help you to keep your restaurant clean and pest free:

  • You should proudly display your current Health Inspection Certificate prominently in your establishment.
  • Check for roaches, flies, rats, and other scavengers every day.
  • Workers and food handlers should appear neat and clean. They should be wearing protective gloves and hair nets.
  • Restrooms should look and smell clean. There should be no sign of plumbing leaks. Antibacterial soap should be available for employees and clients to use. Prominently post signs reminding staff to wash hands.
  • Feel the walls and hard surfaces. There should be a minimal amount of germ collecting dust and grease on your fingers.
  • Look up at the ceiling. The tiles should be clean and not show water damage. You should see signs of adequate ventilation. You should never see smoke or fog, which indicates poor ventilation.
  • Look at the floor. It should be clean of dirt and food debris.
  • Look at the kitchen. Is it crowded or is there plenty of space for people to work and move around? Are boxes piled on the floor and is there water on the ground?
  • Look at your storage areas. Some sources recommend that storage areas have 18 inches of clearance for cleaning and pest control treatment.
  • Walk around the premises. Is the dumpster and garbage away from the main entrance? Can you see evidence of scavengers? Is the area clean or filthy?
  • Workers at clean restaurants typically clear off tables quickly. They disinfect and dry tables, furniture, and menus. Dishes and utensils should be sparkling clean.

In Conclusion – Rats in the Restaurant

Restaurant owners should always be proactive about pest control and consult with an Integrated Pest Management professional, like Hearts Pest Management, if you find evidence of rat infestation in your restaurant. By being proactive you can avoid that one rodent infestation report that can ruin your reputation and overwhelm your budget.

If you are in Southern California, turn to Hearts Pest Management for commerical rat solutions.

Call today at 1-800-986-1006 for help with rat and mice control. You’re also welcome to complete our contact form and a caring Hearts Pest Management representative will contact you shortly.

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“Pest Control for the Small Restaurant Owner.” HubPages. HubPages Inc., n.d. Web. 23 May 2013. <https://pestcontrolproduc.hubpages.com/hub/ rodent-control-for-the-small-restaurant-owner>.
“How to Evaluate Restaurant Cleanliness.” e-How Health. Demand Media Property,
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