The research, conducted by pest control experts Rentokil, reveals that 86 per cent of business owners surveyed stated the key concern is the damage a pest infestation could cause to their reputation, followed closely by customer relationships and loss of trading (82 per cent).
“A business’ reputation is its most important asset so it’s understandable that hospitality and catering businesses worry about the impact an infestation can have on them,” said Savvas Othon, technical director at Rentokil.
“Pests can also cause distress to employees from gnawing at computer cables, damaging and soiling products in store-rooms or contaminating food in kitchens. At the heart of preventing an infestation is understanding and assessing the factors contributing to the risk of pest problems in your premises and dealing with them immediately.”
Eighty per cent of business owners believed cleaning and maintenance can attract pests to premises, while keeping waste in rubbish bins (73 per cent) and having a communal kitchen (57 per cent) were other contributing factors.
The survey also revealed that the vast majority of hospitality businesses (84%) have invested in a pest strategy – almost double the survey average of 40 per cent.
“What this research shows is that businesses do understand the key causes of pest problems but need to act proactively and consistently to minimise these risks,” added Othon. “It’s promising to see that so many businesses in this sector have invested in a pest control strategy.
“One of the first key steps, is to ensure you engage with staff effectively so they fully understand their role in reducing the threat of pests at work to create a better, healthy work environment – for both customers and colleagues.”
Sixty-five per cent of the businesses surveyed reported mice (36 per cent) and rats (29 per cent) on their premises, while 21 per cent experienced ant infestations.
Rentokil worked in partnership with IFFR Research to survey 500 owners of businesses with 0-249 employees in October 2011. Seventy-four catering and hospitality businesses were surveyed.