Expanding Your Patio? Here's How to Keep it Under Control
Your restaurant has earned a reputation for its great food and killer atmosphere, but the same traits that attract paying guests will pull in some undesirables as well. No, we’re not talking about people who dine-and-dash, but rather pests like ants, flies, wasps, cockroaches and even rodents. And no area of the restaurant is more ideal for attracting those unwanted guests than your patio.
As restaurants begin to reopen and expand their outdoor seating to accommodate protective social distancing measures, there are a few pro tips to keep in mind and keep pests under control.
An abundance of food plus easy access equals pest problems. Since your patio is already outside, the only thing missing is dinner. And the bigger the patio, the bigger the problem, as pests have more opportunities to claim their keep (and more variety from which to choose). If you’re getting ready to open your patio seating to guests, you will need to address pest problems before they even start.
Pests aren’t just bad for business, they’re bad for people, too. Flies transmit as many as 65 diseases to humans, cockroaches can trigger life-threatening allergy attacks and rodents both directly and indirectly transmit disease. Not only will the reputation of your business suffer if guests ever spot these pests, if someone gets sick because of one of them you can be sure they’re going to leave a nasty Yelp review.
The most effective treatment for patio pests is, of course, prevention. There are many steps you can take on your own to reduce your patio’s draw on pests (while increasing your guests’ enjoyment of your facilities). Here are some easy but crucial measures you can take:
Clear tables quickly: As soon as guests leave, someone should bus their table to get any uneaten food disposed of before it attracts pests.
Wash tables immediately: As soon as a table is bussed, it should be wiped down and all crumbs and other food properly disposed of.
Always watch for spills and dropped food: And clean them up as soon as possible. Not only do such messes create a safety hazard for your guests and employees, they’re an open invitation to pests. If cleaning the mess would inconvenience the guest (under the table, for example), wait until they leave.
Add fans: Not only will they keep your guests cool, flying insects won’t mess with them.
Consider a barrier: Not only would a physical barrier possibly enhance the intimacy and ambiance of your patio, it could keep pests out as well.
Add citronella candles and fly lights: Anything you can do to deter and/or exterminate pests on the fly (no pun intended) will help, but try to place candles away from guests so the scent doesn’t overpower their meal, like along the perimeter.
Certain plants can deter pests as well: Rosemary, lavender and lemongrass don’t just smell good to us (and possibly enhance your restaurant’s aromatics), but such plants actually deter pests.
Partner up with a pro: Finally, you’ll want to partner with a pest control professional to make sure that your efforts are supported with industry-leading protection, both inside and outside your facility.
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