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Restaurant Suffers from Cockroach Infestation

Batzner’s expertise has helped many clients who had limited to no success with a previous pest control company. Here is one such occurrence, where thorough treatments and customer education is aiding in solving a difficult cockroach problem and instructing a restaurant owner on the practices necessary to prevent future infestations.

A pest infestation can be disastrous for restaurant owners. A health inspection revealing an infestation can cause your restaurant to close, and a customer seeing a single pest can result in lost business. Cockroaches, more than any other insect, are associated with an unclean environment. A fly buzzing around the bar or some ants on a back patio may be tolerated, but a cockroach sighting is almost guaranteed to send people running for the doors.

Unfortunately, cockroaches also happen to be one of the most resilient and difficult to treat insects in the world. For this reason, restaurant owners need the most dedicated and thorough pest control professionals working to protect their brand.

The Issue

The owner of a local restaurant was receiving multiple reports of cockroach sightings at his business. He had been using a national pest control provider who grew complacent and appeared either unaware or unconcerned that the roach issue was worsening. According to the owner, the response time was a major problem and the service was often provided during business hours, which can lead to a less effective treatment due to employee interference in addition to being unappealing for customers. The restaurant was originally receiving monthly service before the owner had to request switching to bi-monthly and finally weekly treatments in an attempt to resolve the growing infestation– nothing was recommended by the service provider.

After months of the problem worsening, a restaurant owner’s worst nightmare occurred. A cockroach walked across a table of fourteen on Christmas. The family got up and walked straight out of the restaurant.  It was at this time that the owner decided to drop his service provider and give Batzner a chance to help him rebuild his brand.

Our Inspection

Upon the initial inspection, live roaches were discovered in the kitchen, on the service counter, and in the dish room, with evidence of cockroach activity present in other areas as well.

Keith Loewus, a Commercial Sales Consultant involved in the inspection, noted that, “The previous company didn’t use any type of monitors at all. Simple monitors like glue traps are helpful for identifying the type of insect you are dealing with as well as pinpointing the source of the infestation. We strategically placed monitors throughout the restaurant and the results allowed us to narrow down the source of the problem.”

Also during the inspection, serious problems were noticed that the previous provider had not pointed out to the owner.  These included:

  • Missing baseboard/cracks in baseboard throughout kitchen allowing entry
  • Debris build-up (lots of food, paper, and cardboard provides food sources and harborage)
  • Standing water by dishwasher (water source)
  • Cracks in floor allow for food/grease/debris build-up
  • Damaged base wall tiles; allows for debris and mop water to accumulate under tile

All of these factors contributed to making the location an attractive residence for cockroaches, and educating the owner on the necessity of fixing them was the first step taken in stopping the infestation.

Our Service

To start, a team of four Service Specialists were sent in for an initial clean-out, including Dave Kusnierek, a District Manager and Associate Certified Entomologist with over thirty years of experience. They were able to assess the situation and reassure the owner that it was nothing they hadn’t seen and dealt with before. This took place after-hours when the restaurant was closed, which was important because it allowed our Service Specialists to fully inspect and treat all areas without having cooks or other employees in the way and prevented customers from witnessing the process.

Also involved in the treatment was Service Specialist Rob Van Willigen, who observed that, “The previous company was largely or even only using baits. This can be ineffective, especially if they aren’t mixing up the type of bait used. We, on the other hand, use the correct products appropriate for the situation. In this case, that is a mix of different products and Insect Growth Regulators, as well as a fog injection into wall voids to reach areas where the roaches hide.” Using a variety of products, in addition to being able to reach different areas, prevents populations from building a resistance to the bait or other treatment being applied.

During subsequent services, which always take place before the restaurant opens, monitor use and consulting with the owner on sanitation and exclusion have continued, in keeping with the Integrated Pest Management philosophy. The inspection and initial clean-out treatment had revealed the main source of the infestation to be the wall behind the grills, so services regularly include a dust product injected into holes drilled into the wall for this purpose in addition to normal treatment.

Results

Within a month of the initial service there was a drastic reduction in the cockroach population. While the situation is not yet perfect, it is definitely under control. Upkeep on sanitation and other aspects are necessary to completely eradicate the population, but the owner is already very happy with the progress that has been made.

Batzner’s dedication and attention to detail have impressed him the most. While his last provider was rarely there for a full hour, Batzner’s service calls routinely last approximately an hour and a half. Skie Gierach, Operations Manager, has experienced this as a common difference between us and national companies, “Many national providers pay their Service Specialists based on the treatments they perform in a day or as a percentage of the quoted price of a location, rather than an hourly wage. This incentivizes them to focus on doing their work as quickly as possible, rather than on the quality.”

With the extra time spent at locations like this one, Batzner Service Specialists are able to perform a more thorough treatment. This pays off against tough pests like cockroaches. As Rob explains, “The extra time and effort we spend on our treatments means we can get to every crack and crevice, even the very difficult to reach ones. This is important because those hard to reach places are where the roaches actually hide away. Getting to those places usually means being on your hands and knees, which other providers may not be willing or have the time to do. While it isn’t easy being that thorough, the results speak for themselves.”

Batzner looks forward to continuing to work with this client and solving any other pest problems that may arise. Both Batzner and the owner are confident that the thoroughness and dedication brought to treatments, as well as the education and partnership provided, will be enough to keep their brand protected.