We’re often way more comfortable not knowing what goes on behind the scenes at our favourite fast food restaurants. It’s much easier to not think too carefully about food that sometimes goes from frozen to fried in less than 30 seconds than it is to believe the truth about what goes on just out of view. Thankfully, most of what happens at reputable fast food chains is palatable, if a little industrialised. However, as a recent viral video has proved, this isn’t always the case.
Shocking footage emerged this week from the Hawaiian capital Honolulu, showing what appeared to be a rat being cooked on a grill at a branch of Teddy’s Bigger Burgers. The restaurant in question has subsequently been forced to temporarily close its doors, as the video spread like a virus around the internet, prompting angry and startled responses from viewers all over the world.
The video shows an employee frying and flipping what looks worryingly like a dead rodent just centimetres away from where customers’ patties can clearly be seen cooking. The “chef” proceeds to proclaim a “welcome to Teddy’s” as he plays with the animal, while the camera pans to the recorder, who looks on in horror. The entire clip is captioned “I think it’s time to quit teddys (sic)”.
After the video, which has now been viewed more than 20,000 times, became public, Teddy’s senior team took action. President of Teddy’s Bigger Burgers, Richard Stula, announced that they were taking all steps to confirm whether the footage was legitimate, before adding, “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... We will then send a corporate team in to inspect and complete a thorough audit of the location before it is allowed to re-open."
The business owners haven’t been the only ones to react strongly to the footage. Many of the comments from disturbed viewers have made it clear that what seems like a practical joke has gotten seriously out of hand. One said, "Hope this video was worth the lawsuits coming," whilst another added, "Disgusting all around. There is no need to be cruel to an animal and trash your workplace."
It has since become clear that the two employees at the heart of the controversy have now left the business, but it seems that Teddy’s are after more than two new grillers. After carrying out extensive cleaning and “complete sanitization” work, there have been suggestions that the business may seek to pursue legal action against the pair, for bringing the chain’s reputation into disrepute. In a statement to the press, Stula made it clear that, “We are horrified a former employee would create something like this trying to destroy our reputation without regard for our 20-plus years of quality and aloha.” Though It remains to be seen what, if any, action will actually be taken, it’s obvious that this is one practical joke that may have taken things a little too far.