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Friday, February 23, 2007

Funny. Those don't look like chihuahuas to me!

Possibly due in part to some basement construction, a New York City KFC/Taco Bell was swarmed by rats today. Maybe they should play up the incident with cute little rats who just love to eat gorditos. They could befriend the old "You quiero Taco Bell" dog and form a close little family. He could talk about his days of grandeur as a TV star and complain about the horrible, forgettable Taco Bell commercials that followed his departure, when Taco Bell foolishly got rid of the ad agency that had brought him to fame. Or maybe not.

You can read the story here. I'm reproducing it below for posterity since those Excite links don't seem to last too long.

Rats Run Wild in KFC-Taco Bell in N.Y.


NEW YORK (AP) - A dozen rats were caught on video scurrying around the floor of a New York City KFC/Taco Bell restaurant early Friday, running between counters and tables and climbing on children's high chairs.

News crews flocked to the windows of the Greenwich Village neighborhood restaurant, which hadn't opened for the day. By midmorning, the footage was all over the Internet and television news shows, with onlookers giving a play-by-play from the sidewalk as the rodents moved about.

"He's coming for his close-up," one bystander said as a rat came near the window.

Employees came to work, but no customers were allowed in as health inspectors arrived.

There was no answer at the phone number displayed in neon on the store window below the words "We Deliver."

"This is completely unacceptable and is an absolute violation of our high standards," KFC and Taco Bell said in a statement. "This restaurant has been closed and we are addressing the issue with the franchise owner. We will not allow this store to reopen until is it completely resanitized and given a clean bill of health."

The chains said construction in the basement on Thursday "temporarily escalated the situation."

The city Department of Health had inspectors at the site on Friday, said department spokeswoman Sara Markt. She said the restaurant had passed inspection in December, but a violation was issued to the restaurant owner about "evidence of rats" - which meant only droppings at the time.

Markt said the owner of the franchise is listed with the department as ADF Fifth Operating Corp.

Rats have long been a problem in New York City, with such a dense population and such a large and readily available food supply for the rodents. They are frequently scampering through subway tunnels, rooting through trash, dashing across parks and burrowing into the walls of apartment buildings.

But it is rare to see so many rats congregating in one place in such public view.

Yum Brands Inc., based in Louisville, Ky., owns the Taco Bell and KFC chains.

Last week, it was reported that Taco Bell sales had slumped after a widely publicized E. coli scare, but that international sales helped Yum Brands in the company's fourth quarter.

The E. coli outbreak late last year caused more than 70 Taco Bell customers to become ill. Federal officials said in December that the most likely source of the illnesses was lettuce. Taco Bell took precautions by changing its suppliers of lettuce and cheese in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

In this image made from video rats move around inside a KFC-Taco Bell restaurant in Greenwich Village in New York, Friday, Feb. 23, 2007. (AP Photo/Rafael Garcia Jr. via APTN)

Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All right reserved.


hglcjjj said...
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Jeff Hebert said...

Upon seeing the flood of rats, the Taco Bell Manager said "I just thought the regular delivery of taco meat defrosted on the way in ..."