Everyone has seen, or at least heard of Disney's charming movie about a rat who wanted nothing more than to be a chef. Spoiler alert: His wish comes true and he runs a five-star restaurant. "Ratatouille" is undoubtedly a unique story idea, however it should make restaurant owners cringe. The thought of a rat as a head chef is not cute, in fact, the thought of a rat in the kitchen at all should be absolutely unheard of.
Here are all the reasons why you need to fire your head chef if he just so happens to be a large rodent:
Rats carry dangerous diseases
If you have rats in your kitchen they are likely running around contaminating your food and work space as they look for a bite to eat. These are very unclean animals that carry a host of dangerous diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided the following list of some of the diseases that are directly transmitted by rats in the kitchen:
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome: This is a virus spread by rats that leave contaminated feces in your workspace. Once the rat's droppings or urine is inhaled, it can cause a very serious respiratory disease. This could affect not just workers, but patrons if feces make it into the dining area.
Curious wild rats that enter your kitchen could be carrying the plague bacteria that has been known to cause serious illness, and even death if not treated early enough.
Salmonellosis is one of the more common ways rats can affect food. If you serve customers food that have been touched or contaminated by rat feces, they could easily catch this disease. In fact, the CDC reported that it causes one million foodborne illnesses in the U.S. alone every year. And of those that catch it, 19,000 are hospitalized and 380 result in death.
Rats can cause serious structural damage
Rats can cause all kinds of property damage to your business. The Guardian explained that rats like to chew, and they don't care if that is your decor, or if it's through your inventory. If inventory shows signs of bite marks, this means you'll likely have to get rid of entire stock and purchase clean food to prevent customers from getting sick. This, as you can imagine, can be incredibly costly. The source also noted that rats like to go after wires. This could ruin appliances and force you to buy entire new ones, or even create a devastating electrical fire.
Rat extermination is cheaper than losing your entire business
The second you see signs of an infestation you should absolutely call a rat exterminator to take care of your problem immediately. If you do not, the price you pay could be the loss of your business. Health inspectors will quickly shut down a restaurant that has signs of rats running about, and even if you manage to get rid of the rodents, the public might not regain trust. Therefore, you need to be proactive about the rodent removal process. In order to properly dispose of rats, it might be necessary to close your doors for a couple of days so the exterminator can do a thorough job - but even that is better than a permanent closure.
Poison-free solutions are easy
However, if you've done a quick pest inspection and find you have a mild infestation, you might want to consider a poison-free solution so you don't have to worry about closing up shop while you take care of your rodent issue. Some of these solutions are also good to implement as proactive prevention strategies to keep rats from even entering your establishment in the first place. Everyday Roots explained that peppermint essential oil is an overwhelming scent for rodents, and will likely steer them away from your establishment. The source said to either spray openings where rats are getting in, or soak cotton balls in a solution and refresh every couple of weeks or so.
Cloves are another smell that deter rodents, said Everyday Roots, and it can be done with the same method as the peppermint spray. But of course, you could also set out traps near possible entry points to catch rodents as soon as they enter.