A leading kitchen maintenance firm has revealed it encounters more than 100 cases a year where major damage has been caused to catering equipment because of operators failing to keep rodents at bay.
Mice and rats can leave commercial catering equipment inoperable alongside more obvious hygiene risks and, according to Stevenage-based Serviceline, the problem is more common than you might imagine.
Ovens and hot cupboards in particular offer a warm, dry home for rodents. But they chew wires to hone their teeth, which grow continually, damaging key items of equipment that can be expensive to repair or replace.
Serviceline’s managing director, Steve Elliott, says that if rodents get into an oven and prevent it from working, a complete internal clean and rewiring of the circuit could run into hundreds of pounds.
Besides the financial costs, there is an increased risk of fire, electric shock or electrical shutdown if the oven short circuits as the wires are laid bare.
“Incidents like this are less common these days, perhaps once a year for each our service engineers – but that’s still 120 incidents per year that cause major cost and inconvenience for the caterer,” he says.
“The main issue is the repetitive nature of the rodent problem, once they are established on a site. A single pest control treatment does not seem to eradicate the problem in the cases that we come across and there is a need for a regular programme by the site to manage it.”
Although not related to rodents, Elliott highlighted bird droppings smothering external fridge condensers as another unusual but not infrequent issue that catering service engineers face.
Some condensers will be found that can’t be accessed except through the thick stinky congealed mass of detritus, he said.