The parent company of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut says it has temporarily closed several New York City restaurants owned by the franchisee that operated a Manhattan eatery overrun with rats.
In a statement issued late Thursday, Yum Brands Inc. said the restaurants would remain closed until they had been given a new inspection by the city's health department.
"We will not compromise on our food and restaurant quality," said Emil Brolick, a Yum Brands executive.
The company's actions were aimed at the ADF Companies, a Fairfield, New Jersey-based firm that owns more than 350 fast food restaurants in several states and is among the nation's largest operators of Pizza Huts.
ADF is the owner of a Greenwich Village KFC/Taco Bell that closed by New York health inspectors last week after TV news crews peering in through the windows recorded a nauseating number of rats skittering across the floors and climbing on tables and countertops.
The video, which is still circulating on the Internet, also brought shame on the city for giving a passing grade to the eatery during a health inspection just a day earlier.
ADF spokeswoman Marissa Smith said she did not know exactly how many of the company's 20 restaurants in New York City had closed, but described it as "a handful." The closures did not extend to other states, she said.
It was unclear how quickly the restaurants might reopen. Smith said each was getting a rigorous new inspection to make sure they did not have any problems.
"We definitely have high standards that we set for ourselves," Smith said.
Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said this week that the city's failure to immediately shut the Greenwich Village KFC/Taco Bell after learning of the rat problem was unacceptable. The inspector who conducted the initial review has been temporarily removed from field duty, reports AP.
Frieden also said that other restaurant inspectors could expect a thorough analysis of their work in the coming weeks.