The Charlotte Observer
A TikTok video of rats scurrying in a kitchen prompted the permanent shutdown of Popeyes in Washington, D.C., officials said.
Ricardo Land, who said he had a job delivering raw chicken to D.C.-area Popeyes locations, walked into the restaurant at 409 8th Street SE on Oct. 11 and sang “Love that chicken from Popeyes!”
But that tagline quickly was overshadowed by an unflattering sight after Land turned on the lights and filmed several rats running across the floor and up the walls of the kitchen, according to the video.
“You still love that chicken from Popeyes?” Land says.
By the end of the month, D.C. health inspectors were at the door, according to the district’s health report.
Health officials said they found rat droppings “outdoors on the ground adjacent to the grease bin” and “openings in the ceiling” close to the cooking area.
A total of 17 violations were found, health officials said, including temperatures of the walk-in refrigerator and freezer exceeding 50 degrees.
Officials closed the store Oct. 29 — one day after the inspection, D.C. Council member Charles Allen said.
This isn’t the location’s first health inspection violation.
Four violations were found back in April, including the store’s exterior door not being “rodent proof” and dead bugs in the ceiling tiles, inspectors said.
The violations were supposed to be fixed within 14 days, according to the health report.
Land’s video, which amassed over two million views, prompted the closure of the D.C. location after Popeyes terminated the franchise’s agreement, according to a company spokesperson.
“We have taken action to terminate the franchise agreement with this restaurant operator,” the spokesperson told McClatchy News. “This Franchisee only operates this one location, and it is being closed indefinitely. This single restaurant does not reflect our strong food safety and cleanliness standards across Popeyes®.”
Land was suspended from his delivery job after the TikTok video surfaced, he said on his GoFundMe page.
Popeyes told McClatchy News that it is “cooperating in the distributor’s investigation of the matter, and have been ensured by the vendor that their employee who posted the fundraising page has always been receiving his full pay.”
“He is not a Popeyes employee, nor that of the Franchisee, and decisions regarding his suspension are handled by his employer,” the spokesperson said.