Running a restaurant is a dream that many people have, but often the reality is somewhat different to what they expect. Yes, you get the satisfaction of dishing up food you’ve cooked and seeing people enjoy it, yes you will build a regular customer base, and yes you will take great pride in designing your restaurant and making it look great – but at the same time there is an awful lot that can go very wrong, very quickly.
And many of the biggest risks revolve around health and safety. Your business will be built on your ability to provide food that not only tastes great, but that is also clean, healthy and free from germs. If someone gets sick from your food it can completely destroy your reputation, while getting an infestation of rats can actually force you to close down – losing tons of cash for every minute you do.
If you’re starting a restaurant business then, you need to be ready to wage war on all manner of pests from bugs, to rodents to bacteria. Here are some important tips to help you do just that…
Maintaining a Clean Environment
The first and most important tip when it comes to keeping pests away from your cooking area, is to make sure that you keep the environment as clean as possible. It’s rotting bits of food – no matter how small – that create smells and attract pests, so that’s what you need to try and avoid.
In order to avoid this happening then, you need to prevent food or spills from creating smells. That means investing in a good fridge and freezer then keeping everything that hasn’t been thrown away in there. It also means making sure that you wipe all your surfaces with disinfectant every single day before going home, and vacuum around the entire restaurant to get rid of crumbs. Make sure that dirty plates aren’t left out, and spray some air freshener on occasion too.
What’s also important is making sure that the area immediately surrounding your restaurant is also clean and secure. Bins for instance commonly attract vermin, so make sure that if you have any outside they are all fully sealed to prevent tempting in the critters.
How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies
Even in a relatively clean restaurant though, you may find yourself attracting fruit flies still which can be a serious annoyance and make your environment look and feel dirty (it’s hardly reassuring for customers).
If you have a fruit fly problem then try taking a small empty pot or can, and putting a few pieces of fruit in the bottom to create a smell. Now cover the top of the container with some cling film, and pierce a very small hole in the top with a pen or a pin. What will now happen, is that the fruit flies will try to get to the food by climbing inside through that opening. Once inside though, they’ll then be stuck meaning that the pot will fill with flies and you can eventually take them all outside at once!
Bugs that you can see aren’t the only problem though. Equally dangerous are germs and mold spores. Bear in mind that if you have moldy food in the fridge, just cutting off the edge may not remove all the mold as invisible roots could be penetrating more deeply inside. Practice a ‘better safe than sorry’ policy, and throw out anything that’s moldy or close to the sell-by date. Keep your fridge cool meanwhile to prevent the mold from forming in the first place.
Another way to avoid letting food go moldy, and thus to get longer out of it, is to avoid touching it directly with your fingers. If you normally hold the cheese while cutting it for instance, then try keeping it inside the wrapper instead and only touching the covered area to stabilize it while cutting. Bacteria from your fingers or from your breath can evolve into more serious problems over time, so generally try to minimize contact with food while it’s out of the fridge.
Follow these tips and you should get more life from your food while also reducing the chance of causing illnesses or getting shut down. A little caution will more than pay off in the long term!
Author Bio: Jack Thomas, the writer of this article, is an employee at Abreq, well-known wholesalers of restaurant equipment. Jack is a culinary enthusiast and specializes in making desserts.