For restaurant managers, there’s perhaps nothing more frightening than failing a health inspection—and with good reason. The reputational damage a failed health inspection brings can be difficult to overcome. Municipal health departments often post inspection scores online, so your latest inspection score (and the exact reasons for any deductions) are just a quick search away for your potential customers. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure your restaurant is always on the up-and-up.

Loading Docks 

Discourage pest entry here by installing plastic strip curtains on all doors. You can also replace any fluorescent lights around front and back entrances with sodium vapour lights, which are less attractive to flies. In addition, be sure to remove shipments from cardboard boxes (which can harbour pests) and inspect all incoming products and supplies before storing them.

Storage areas 

These dark and damp places are a pest’s dream. Make sure to place food supplies on open-backed shelves to remove pest hiding spots. You should also store all dry goods in tightly sealed containers and adopt a first-in-first-out strategy to ensure older products are always used first.

Store all products off the floor on shelves. This will allow for proper cleaning and monitoring of pests. Check and clean out expired products that are likely to harbour insect pests. Inspect canned products for damage, which can result in the breeding of small flies.


Look for any leaking faucets in your kitchen area, as pests only need a small amount of water to survive. Get rid of any garbage and make sure outdoor disposal areas have containers with tight-fitting lids. Ensure bottle and can recycling bins are thoroughly cleaned, free of flies. Check grease traps to make sure they’re clean and functional. Clean the kitchen thoroughly between shifts, preferably with organic cleaners.

Be aware of dead-end spaces in and behind appliances, and clean them regularly, as these are common areas for pests to hide. Examine dishwashing areas and remove any decaying organic matter trapped in floor drains or tile grouts. Finally, be sure to keep food prep counters free of food residues, and keep an eye out for evidence of pest activity in these prepping areas.

Working with a trusted pest management provider can help you take care of everything outlined above to stay ready for your next health inspection. Your provider will assess your restaurant’s external and internal pest pressures and implement a comprehensive pest management plan to help you more effectively prevent pests while serving your customers with excellence and remaining prepared for third-party review.

Need a quick reference guide for all of this? You can also download our expert tip sheet here.

Tip sheet to pass a health inspection