When it comes to running a restaurant, a pest problem is one thing you can’t afford. Unfortunately, pests are always looking for a way inside—and once they’ve made their way in, their stealth and population growth are unmatched. Infestations can occur before you realize bugs or rodents are present, ultimately causing major consequences for your employees, your customers and your next health inspection.

Trust us, you’ll want to discover a pest problem before the health inspector does. To stop a potential issue before it starts, it’s important to conduct regular checks. Here are some of the most common areas that pests prefer to hang out:

  1. Receiving areas

This seems like a no-brainer, but you might be surprised how many restaurants don’t keep their receiving areas properly secured. Pests will try to hitch a ride inside with your latest shipment, look for open doors and even bury themselves inside cardboard boxes. Sealing doors, inspecting shipments and tossing away used cardboard can help strengthen your defenses on this front.

  1. Storage areas

These areas are stocked with food, hidden from human view and often contain damp spots—in other words, they’re pest utopias. To keep storage space as secure as possible, make sure you sweep regularly, keep food properly sealed, dispose of old products and keep shelves at least 15 centimetres off the floor.

  1. Kitchens

What’s cooking? That’s what your patrons—and pests—want to know. The kitchen is an obvious destination for crawling critters, so keep a close eye on leaking water sources, dispose of any sitting garbage, wipe down surfaces and use cleaners that fully break down food particles.

  1. Dining and bar areas

Don’t let pests join your customers for a meal or a drink. Carefully clean crevices around tables and chairs, keep bar areas neat and organized and hose down any outdoor dining spaces, as these can all serve as potential gathering spots for bugs and rodents.

Conducting frequent inspections and following the tips above will help you keep pests away from your dining establishment. For more detailed tips and a full health inspection checklist, read “Avoid a Health Inspection Headline: Your Pest Management Guide to Health Score Success.”