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Home » Blog » How to Keep Mice and Rats Out of Your Restaurant

How to Keep Mice and Rats Out of Your Restaurant

How to Keep Mice and Rats Out of Your Restaurant

A rat infestation can happen anywhere; it could be in your house or the restaurant you own. It is horrifying for customers and business owners alike to imagine an area with heavy traffic and food preparation activities having a severe rat problem. The kitchen is the command center of any restaurant and critical to delivering quality, tasty, and hygienic food.

Wen rodents gain access to a commercial kitchen, the health of customers and employees gets compromised. A rat infestation can be a restaurant owner's worst nightmare. They will not only cause substantial structural damage to your property, such as chewed wiring, ductwork, or plastic plumbing pipes, but they also tarnish your name and drive away customers. With Google reviews memorializing customer experiences forever, one mouse or rat can tarnish your reputation for years.

According to the Indiana Department of Health, more than 20% of the world’s food is eaten or contaminated by rats and mice each year. In today’s ultra-competitive environment, with delivery options leveling the playing field and deteriorating geographic barriers to entry restaurants used to enjoy, restaurant owners simply cannot afford to be a part of that 20%. Thus, restaurants must be pro-active and have a plan in place for preventing rat and mouse activity in their restaurant before it becomes an issue.

During the coldest months of the year, rodent activity often increases as wildlife starts looking for a warm shelter with sufficient water and food sources. Sounds familiar? Your commercial kitchen can be the perfect winter home for rats and mice.

A rodent infestation can not only cause devastating reputational damage to your restaurant, but it can also force your business to shut down entirely. Restaurant owners can protect their business and hard-earned reputation with a watchful eye and a robust commercial rat control plan for keeping rats and mice out of the picture and your online reviews.

How to Prevent Rats in Your Restaurant

Both rats and mice will leave many signs of their presence in your restaurant. A few common indicators include fecal droppings, grease marks on walls or wires, pungent odors, chewed electrical wires and cables, or chewed food or water containers

If you have spotted signs of rodent infestation, the best approach is to shut down the business for a while and call a professional rat removal company. If you only notice a few signs but are not sure how severe the problem is, you can call a rat removal company such as Critter Stop to come provide their expertise. Regardless of the severity, you should make the environment of your restaurant less favorable for them, sealing all food and water in secure containers, and place numerous traps, poisons, and deterrents.

Rats and mice multiply quickly, especially with a healthy supply of food and water and shelter from predators. This makes quickly implementing effective restaurant pest control procedures critical to nipping the problem in the bud.

Some of the effective tips on how to prevent rodents from entering your property are below:

Maintain Robust Food Safety System

Restaurants are a growing part of our culture and expectations are cleanliness, service, and quality have never been higher. People trust restaurants to serve them healthy and hygienic food – no excuses. Therefore, restaurant owners' responsibility is to have a good Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (“HACCP”) food safety management system in place so their food does not make people sick.

Commercial rat control methods form a significant part of a HACCP system. A good HACCP food safety management system will not only ensure quality food delivery. It will also minimize the likelihood of a rat infestation in your restaurant.

Remove Food Sources

More than anything, food attract rats and mice to restaurants. We highly recommend you keep all unprepared food and food waste in secure containers or bins. Additionally, all trash cans and garbage containers should be emptied regularly. Otherwise, these will act like magnets, attracting rats and mice to your restaurant.

Most restaurants have a dumpster on their property. If relocation is possible, keep the dumpster as far away from the back doors as possible, so it is not easy for rodents to sneak in through the backdoors. Similarly, do not leave trash bags by the back door, with the plan to take the garbage bags to the dumpster all at once. Removing food attractants is a major first step in successfully preventing rats and mice from coming into your restaurant.

Remove Water Sources

Mice can usually extract enough water from the food they eat. However, rats still need access to a regular supply of water. Therefore, you must make sure to fix any dripping faucet or leak that may cause puddles or other water sources, as these will inevitably attract rats to your restaurant.

Additionally, rats and mice can enter your restaurant through cracked drains. If you have this issue, make sure to address it right away.

Seal All Openings Around the Exterior of the Building (“Exclusion”)

When built to code, any building, whether it is commercial or residential, has dozens of entry points that mice and rats can use to gain access to the interior. Mice can get through holes the size of a dime, so a good rule of thumb is, if you can stick your finger into it, a mouse can get through it. This includes weep holes, pipe stacks, attic vents, and many other building features most people do not initially consider.

To complicate the matter further, rodents are very intelligent, so if you only miss a few entry points, they will find and exploit them. Identifying every potential entry point and properly sealing it to prevent re-entry is a major part of the value animal removal companies such as Critter Stop provides. With many points of failure (rodents only need ONE entry point to be a nuisance), it is important you choose a company with experience, a reputation for high quality work, and prompt customer service.

Lastly, don't let someone else's mistake affect your business. It is essential to inspect all packages and products delivered to your restaurant for any possible rodent signs. Is there a hole in the shipment box? Are there any chew marks on the box? If yes, refuse the delivery and notify the supplier immediately. It is better to be cautious than to regret it later.

Keep Your Restaurant Clean

Rodents are usually fond of places that are messy and cluttered – it gives them plenty of hiding places to go undetected. Therefore, a proven way to prevent a rat infestation in your restaurant is to keep it clean at all times. This includes repairing leaky sinks, cleaning floors with an enzyme-based cleaner, and decluttering storage and dining spaces.

Furthermore, employees should never leave dirty dishes or full garbage containers overnight, as they are appealing to rats and mice. Rodents are also attracted to moisture, be careful not to leave puddles when mopping or cleaning other areas of the restaurant.

Increase Staff Awareness

Another great approach for commercial rat control is to train your employees well. Just like many aspects of the restaurant, restaurant pest control is not a one-person job. Your employees will be your first defenders against rat problems. They are often the first ones to find warning signs.

Therefore, if they know what to look for and what to do or who to notify in response, you can put a stop to the issue long before it gets noticed by the customers. You can talk to rat removal companies to give training sessions to your employees about rat prevention methods. Critter Stop is happy to do this for its customers in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Together, we can ensure a rodent-free restaurant.

With every staff member on board to help keep the restaurant rodent-free, it will be easier to prevent small issues from developing into huge infestations. Additionally, restaurant managers can implement a "Clean as you go" policy to clean up food spillages immediately and ensure messes that might attract rodents are addressed as quickly as possible. Small practices like this from your well-trained staff will help you avoid rat infestations in your restaurant.

Inspect Regularly

Rodent infestation can happen anytime, anywhere. Therefore, inspections are key to prevention. Restaurant owners (or employees) must inspect their properties, especially the areas not frequently accessed by employees, such as storage areas, cluttered offices, back rooms, and under kitchen equipment to look for any possible signs of a rodent infestation.

If there is any active rodent activity in these areas, you will find signs such as droppings, grease marks, shredded material, or a strong odor. Just as important as the interior inspection is the exterior inspection. You must look for any cracks, crevices, or holes that may be allowing rodents access.

How to Get Rid of Rats From a Restaurant?

If there is a severe rat infestation in your restaurant, it should be dealt with immediately. After all, you do not want these nasty creatures to tarnish the reputation that took you years to build. Some effective methods to eradicate a rat problem in your restaurant are:


The best approach for getting rid of rats is to trap the musing their favorite food, such as peanut butter, as bait. However, you will need to check traps frequently and dispose of the dead rats immediately. Traps should be placed both in high traffic areas, such as the kitchen, as well as low traffic areas, such as the store room.

Poisonous Baits

Another method to get rid of rats from commercial kitchens is to use poisonous baits. If you go this route, you will need to be extra careful with application to ensure the poison is kept far enough away from food stores and food preparation areas to avoid cross contamination. We recommend using extreme cautious when using poison to kill rodents in your restaurant.


Your restaurant can be a perfect spot for rodents to enjoy their winters. Once they gain access to your restaurant, they will become a huge nuisance for you. They will not only tarnish your reputation, but they will also expose you, your employees, and your customers to many harmful diseases.

Many restaurants have had their license revoked by the food authorities because they had rats and mice in their restaurant. So, if you are also dealing with an active rat or mouse infestation in your restaurant, call a professional rat removal company immediately before it gets too late.

Critter Stop is a reliable commercial rat control company here in North Texas. We will help you quickly eradicate your current rodent issue and prevent them from coming back in the future. Contact us today to make your restaurant rat-free!

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