During the pandemic, restaurant managers and supervisory personnel weren’t necessarily on site to have a post-service visit huddle to discuss issues related to pest control. So, companies like Sprague Pest Solutions based in Tacoma, Wash., leveraged technology: smartphone pics of harborage areas, sanitation missteps and other gunk.

The clients loved it.

“It does a couple of things,” explains Technical Trainer Ashley Roden. “It helps keep us on track because employees can look back on progress month to month, and our clients were asking us, ‘Can you text us pictures of what you’re seeing — it’s helping with communication.’”

Thinking of adding photography as a more formal aspect of your operation vs. an on-the-fly “look at this” transaction? Here are some benefits:

  • Customer engagement. Photographs of sanitization situations help managers understand their role in small fly control. “We can text the pictures and talk about what we see,” Roden says.
  • Informing off-site managers. Owners of multiple restaurant locations might not be on site after a service call to get a verbal run-down. “Pictures give us the ability to have a more elevated conversation with decision-makers at a corporate office,” Roden says, adding that they can compare restaurant conditions. “They might look at the differences and say, ‘Why does this drain look like this,’ and it let’s them set a policy or standard on a global scale for their chain or restaurant.”
  • Getting a closer look. Sprague Pest uses selfie-sticks and borescope to take deep-down pictures of drains. “It’s much better than bringing the nasty gunk out of the drain and showing them,” Roden says. “A picture can show the ickiness vividly.”
  • Storing images. Photos are stored in the company software so if a customer calls in, images can be accessed.
  • Ask permission. While Sprague does not have a formal photo agreement, technicians are trained to ask customers if they will give permission for the company to take pictures while on site. “While food plants are not going to let you take pictures, restaurants tend to be more lenient,” Roden says. “And overall, these pictures are helping with communication.”