Presence of Pests Tops List of Concerns; Rodents and Cockroaches Cause
Diners to Take Action
ATLANTA, December 13 /CNW/ - When it comes to Canadian consumers'
concerns when dining out, the buzz is all about pests, an independent poll
released today by pest control company Orkin Canada revealed.
When asked to rank a list of issues associated with restaurants, four in
10 respondents (40 percent) reported that evidence of insects and/or rodents
cause them the greatest unease. Employee hygiene ranked a close second with 30
percent of diners naming it as their top concern followed by unclean dishes,
which 23 percent selected as their number one apprehension.
"Today's consumers recognize that pests can carry disease and pose a
threat to the safety of their meals," said Orkin Director of Quality Systems,
Zia Siddiqi, Ph.D. "What's more, pest problems often signal issues in other
areas of the restaurant, such as poor sanitation or storage practices, which
also can threaten food safety."
Pests Cause Consumers to Take Action
While insects and rodents are of concern in restaurants, diners'
reactions vary by the type of pest. A rodent or cockroach sighting would cause
99 percent of those polled to take some form of action. To a lesser degree,
only 65 percent would react to seeing a fly, either dead or alive, while
Rodents lead the list of pests that turn off diners. Of those spotting a
rodent, eight in 10 (81 percent) would never dine in that restaurant again.
Eighty-two percent would complain to the manager, and 73 percent would tell
friends and family of the incident. Two-thirds of diners (67 percent) would go
so far as to alert the health department, and almost one-third (31 percent)
would alert the media.
The sight of a cockroach elicits similar reactions from consumers, with
76 percent of respondents reporting that they would never return to an
establishment after finding a cockroach. A similar percentage (79 percent)
would complain to the manager, and about six in 10 people (59 percent) would
contact the health department.
Flies do not cause diners to react as strongly. Half of respondents (50
percent) reported that they would speak to their waiter if they found a fly,
and only three in 10 (29 percent) would tell the manager what they saw.
Consumers' general disregard for flies in restaurants can point to the
pests' commonality in foodservice environments, noted Siddiqi. However, while
many diners have become used to seeing flies in restaurants, their presence is
of no small concern. Like rodents and cockroaches, flies also can put food
safety at risk.
"Flies can carry up to a half billion bacteria on the outside of their
bodies," said Siddiqi. "Every time they land they slough off some of the
bacteria onto their landing surface. In fact, it's actually more sanitary for
a cockroach to walk across your food than for a fly to land on it."
Pest Sighting Effects Spread Beyond Single Consumer
The poll also found that pest sightings can cause an effect far beyond
that at the local level. For two-thirds of consumers (68 percent), finding a
pest in a restaurant would have a "negative effect" on the way they felt about
other restaurants in the chain.
According to Siddiqi, as consumers become more conscious of food safety
threats, like pests, restaurants must continually step up their pest control
and food safety programs.
"A comprehensive approach to pest management and food safety is key,"
said Siddiqi. "Restaurants who emphasize sanitation and other proactive
measures to prevent pests will have the most success in keeping pests out of
their establishments and away from diners' plates."
The Orkin Canada survey was conducted by Acromatics using Synovate's
eNation Canadian service from Sept. 27-Oct. 1, 2007. The online survey polled
1,007 adults (aged 18 and over) in Canada, excluding the Territories. The
margin of error for the total sample is +/- 3 percentage points.
Founded in 1901, Atlanta-based Orkin, Inc. is an industry leader in
essential pest control services and protection against termite damage, rodents
and insects in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America and the
Middle East. With more than 400 locations, Orkin's almost 8,000 employees
serve approximately 1.7 million customers. The company serves homeowners and
numerous industries including food and beverage processing, foodservice,
hospitality, healthcare, retail, warehousing, property/facilities management,
schools and institutions. Orkin is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rollins, Inc.
(NYSE: ROL). Learn more about Orkin Canada by visiting www.orkincanada.com.
For further information:
For further information: For Orkin Canada Jackson Spalding Kim
Scarborough, 404-419-9340 (Media)