Before the COVID-19 pandemic, food safety was already a primary factor for consumers when they were deciding where to eat. But now, with health concerns at an all-time high, operators hoping to welcome back customers on- or off-premise should have no greater priority than ensuring their kitchens and dining rooms are pristine. Consumers’ standards for restaurant cleanliness are higher than ever—and will remain high for the foreseeable future.
While health concerns are inevitably top of mind for foodservice operators hoping to make consumers feel safe ordering from their restaurants, the effects of the pandemic extend beyond the virus itself. In fact, restaurant closures can lead to an increase in pest presence due to limited human activity on the premises.
Pests are a serious threat to food safety and public health, spreading disease, contaminating food inventory and compromising the building’s structure wherever they go. Possible invaders include rodents, cockroaches, flies and more. No operation should reopen without ensuring pests are kept at bay; the U.S. Food and Drug Administration lists checking facilities for pest infestation or harborage and maintaining effective pest control measures among its list of Best Practices for Re-Opening Retail Food Establishments During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Restaurant operators need to be proactive in addressing pest activity as they reopen—regardless of whether or not they spot a sign of infestation. Pests not only pose a significant danger to consumer health, but they can jeopardize continuing operations altogether. Now, more than ever, a pest sighting can be detrimental to a restaurant’s reputation and success long-term. According to the Checkit Consumer Research Report, The Financial Impact of Getting Food Safety Wrong, the vast majority (75%) of consumers would never visit or return to a restaurant implicated in a food safety incident. And, since the onset of the pandemic, it’s safe to assume this percentage is even higher: According to a report from Datassential, 76% of consumers say restaurant cleanliness and food safety will matter more after COVID-19.
In a nutshell, restaurant operators need to prevent pest infestations before they happen—and especially before they invite guests back into their dining rooms. Ecolab provides all the tools and resources restaurants need to maintain the highest sanitation standards as they reopen. Plus, with September being National Food Safety Education Month, there’s no better time for operators to take action and properly prepare their restaurants to reopen. When it comes to post-pandemic restaurant safety—especially regarding pests—operators need to address health concerns before they happen.
With reopening restaurants’ needs in mind, Ecolab offers tools and services specially designed for restaurants reopening in the wake of COVID-19. To learn more about Ecolab solutions or to request an inspection, visit www.ecolab.com/pages/reopen-toolkit-for-foodservice.
This post is sponsored by Ecolab