Health Inspection: Set yourself up for success best practices for pest management

By Frank Meek International Technical & Training Director, Orkin, LLC | July 15, 2012

You work hard to keep your hotel clean and inviting for guests. Pests in a hotel setting can cause bad word-of-mouth and unhappy guests who may not return to your establishment. But beyond the bedroom walls, one critical area of your hotel when it comes to pest management is your restaurant.

A failed health inspection due to a pest sighting in a restaurant or kitchen can be devastating, resulting in bad word-of-mouth or a potential shut down. Letís take a look at which pests are most attracted to your facility, pest hotspots that are cause for concern and how to deter pest entry Ė all information that will help you to prepare for your next health inspection.

A successful Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program seeks to limit chemical usage by reducing conditions that attract pests. IPM techniques like facility maintenance and proactive sanitation practices can go a long way in restricting pestsí access to sources of food, water and shelter. An IPM program also relies on a strong partnership among you, your pest management professional and your employees. To avoid the often costly repercussions of a poor health inspection score, work with your staff and a pest management professional to be prepared for your next health inspection.

Why Pests Are Attracted to Restaurants

Delicious food, smells, warm temperatures Ė all the same things that we enjoy from a restaurant are also enjoyed by pests. The odor from the presence of food, water and optimal temperatures are what attracts pests to begin with, but itís certainly hard to reduce these conditions in the midst of a busy mealtime at your restaurant.

Four of the most likely pest guests looking to book a stay in hotel restaurants are flies, cockroaches, rodents and stored-product pests.

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Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.