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Rats! I Have Rats in My Restaurant

You work tirelessly to ensure that your restaurant is in good standing. The silverware is always polished, the dining area is immaculate, and your chef is a culinary genius. But regardless of doing all of the right things, your success can come to a screeching halt in the blink of an eye due to one simple, four-letter word: Rats!

Rats are your worst nightmare in the restaurant business (and you thought backed-up toilets were bad!) Because having rats in your restaurant is not only a huge turn-off to your customers, but they can also prevent you from passing that incredibly important safety inspection, putting your business in serious jeopardy. So if you have the displeasure of coming across a rat in your restaurant, do not ignore it.

RATS ARE UNSANITARY

Just take one look at a rat’s greasy coat and you can easily see they’re not the most sanitary of creatures. But rats are far more than just a dirty nuisance; they can be downright dangerous, and rat-borne diseases can be life-threatening. Rat bites can cause rat-bite fever, an infectious disease, and rat urine can spread leptospirosis, a bacterial disease that causes liver and kidney damage. Rats can also spread Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (LCMV), an infectious viral disease, through their saliva and urine.

Bottom line? Rats are serious business, so don’t let them jeopardize yours. 

RATS CAN DRIVE AWAY BUSINESS

As a restaurateur, customers are your business. And if you’re fortunate enough to have a healthy roster of repeat ones, they’re returning to you because they trust you to continue delivering excellent service in a clean environment. But this trust is immediately broken by a rat scampering underfoot as they’re taking their first bite of Caesar salad. And don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth. When Rita tells her sister, her co-workers, and all of Yelp about her run-in with the rat, you can kiss your job security goodbye. Word of mouth spreads quickly, and bad word of mouth like wildfire.

RATS CAN COST YOU AN INSPECTION

While bad word of mouth can cost you your reputation, failing a safety inspection can effectively put you out of business. And if you think just one rat can’t do any harm, think again. Take the case of Prosperity Dumpling in Chinatown for example, which was shut down after an anonymous photo of a rat in the back alley of the restaurant where food was prepared surfaced. The photo was posted to Gothamist, a daily weblog covering New York’s news and media stories, and prompted a surprise inspection that the restaurant failed.

So yes, one rat can literally ruin you if you’re not careful. And if you fail to comply with health and safety regulations, you could be faced with some serious fines and lawsuits.

RECTIFYING YOUR RAT PROBLEM

If rats are putting your business at risk, you should take action as soon as possible. Contact a rodent control expert to assess the best technique for removal. An expert will begin with an inspection of the infested property, followed by sanitation, trapping and/or baiting, and rodent proofing to prevent future infestations.

And remember, rats are a lot like bad Yelp reviews. It only takes one to jeopardize your business.