A burger joint in Honolulu was forced to close for extensive cleaning after a viral video showed an employee cooking a dead rat on the same grill used to serve food to customers.
The incident took place at the Mapunapuna location of the chain Teddy's Bigger Burgers, with a Snapchat video circulating showing a teenage cook using a metal spatula to turn the dead rat on the grill. As the Associated Press reported, the restaurant fired both employees who were involved and closed the restaurant so it could undergo a "complete sanitization" that included purchasing all new utensils and a corporate team that will come in afterward to give a complete audit of the location.
The company has also hired a licensed pest control operator to examine the entire restaurant, and the local health department has already scheduled a visit.
"DOH appreciates the remedial and proactive efforts undertaken by the restaurant owner to protect public health," the Health Department said in a statement (via Hawaii News Now).
The report noted that health inspectors had visited the restaurant location in June and given it a green rating with no serious violations.
Company officials said they are also considering taking legal action against the employees seen in the video grilling the rat. It was not clear if either employee faced criminal charges for the video, and neither has been identified. The video had gone viral on social media, spreading on Twitter as many expressed disgust.
It followed a number of other stories about badly behaving fast-food employees, including an infamous incident in 2012 in which Burger King employees were photographed standing in lettuce bins. As the New York Daily News reported, the picture was posted on the image-sharing site 4chan and was eventually traced back to one of the fast-food chain's locations in Ohio.
The company also spoke out about the incident, saying it would not tolerate such unsanitary acts.
"The franchise has taken swift action to investigate this matter and has terminated the three employees involved in the incident," the company said in a statement to the Daily News.Officials in Honolulu also spoke out against the disgusting viral video.
"We are horrified that a former teenage employee would conduct themselves in that way and make such a video of which we are investigating its authenticity," said Richard Stula, the president of Teddy's Bigger Burgers.
As Hawaii News Now reported, the store was seen with a sign in its window that said the restaurant will be closed due to cleaning.