If you feed them, they will come. A tightly packed restaurant full of hungry customers is every restaurant owner’s dream, but all that good food lying around is also an invitation for some unwelcomed guests. Annoying, bothersome and just a plain old nuisance, flies can be a restaurant owner’s worst nightmare, and even more so for the customers trying to enjoy their favorite meal. In the time it takes to raise your arm to swat one away, this restless bug has landed, deposited remnants of filthy pathogens and bacteria, and moved on to his next meal.
More commonly known flies are fruit flies and the typical house fly. Even though their names sound harmless enough, flies can very easily carry over 100 communicable disease carrying germs.
5 Second Rule? Think Again
In the warmer months, food establishments with outdoor dining options are very popular with those looking to enjoy the weather. Unfortunately, flies typically flourish in warmer climates, and will even move indoors during the colder months. If you’re dining outside, it is especially important to be aware of more than just the annoying buzzing sounds made by flies. Here’s the not so tasty details of what happens when a fly lands on your food:
- Flies forage in filthy places including garbage cans, rotting food or animals, sewers, feces and more. They touch these places with their feet and the hairs found on their bodies, in turn, picking up all manner of germs, bacteria and pathogens.
- Even within a few seconds, a fly perched on your food is already regurgitating previously consumed items to be able to begin digesting the new food intake and will also drop feces as it lands.
- Fruit flies in particular are drawn to the sugar in foods, especially liquids. Those empty beer bottles or soda cans on the table are the perfect magnet for them, especially in more humid temperatures.
- In more serious instances, vector-bourne diseases like cholera and dysentery can be carried by flies
How do flies impact my business?
Sometimes viewed as a natural consequence of owning a food establishment, an unattended fly problem can severely impact your business and even businesses nearby including:
- Health violations– City health officials can issue health code violations and citations, forcing you to close your restaurant. Even if this is a temporary closure, the financial loss incurred could be detrimental to your bottom line. According to the National Restaurant Association, immediately addressing the issues found in your citation is key to avoiding further complications.
- Loss of customers– Not only will customers complain about the presence of flies, but this will also lead them to question if there are other unhygienic and unsanitary activities taking place at your restaurant. Negative feedback, word of mouth or even scathing online reviews can impact the number of customers patronizing your establishment.
- Economic impact on nearby businesses— An out of control fly problem in one location can quickly spread to nearby businesses. Poor sanitation practices can adversely affect those in the immediate vicinity, which in turn can have a greater impact on the community as whole.
How can I keep my restaurant a No Fly Zone?
With a high reproduction rate and tendency to stay close to food and water sources, flies are impossible to get rid of entirely. The good news is, there are several ways to help control their numbers by ensuring best practices and taking preventative measures. Here are some ways to combat indoor and outdoor fly problems:
- Do not leave food or drinks exposed on tables and countertops. Immediately clear all tables and wipe surfaces clean, including food that is left on plates, inside sinks and in drains.
- Install fans to help keep the air circulating and keep the overall temperature cool in the warmer months. Find out if your restaurant is designed with a ‘positive air flow’ system, which helps to circulate air from inside to out instead of the reverse.
- Install fly traps in food storage areas and keep all fresh food covered.
- Maintain a consistent check on all fresh foods (fruits, vegetables and meats) to ensure that they are disposed of quickly once they begin to over-ripen or expire.
- Keep your restaurant’s waste disposal as far away from the building as possible. Exposed garbage cans and fermenting fruits, vegetables or meat are a breeding ground for flies.
- Cover any outdoor trash cans that are in close proximity to your dining area as flies are attracted to food odors. As soon as guests vacate their tables, clear away all dishes and wipe down tables right away.
- Installing sodium vapor bulbs are helpful as flies are less attracted to the light that it emits.
- Contact city officials if you suspect that the root cause of the problem is related to city or neighborhood waste disposal practices or poor sanitation practices in the immediate community.
- Always consult a professional pest control provider if you think the situation is out of your control.
Contact a Truly Nolen Atlanta trained professional to schedule an inspection!