News video showing about a dozen rats running around a KFC-Taco Bell restaurant in Greenwich Village was widely disseminated Friday on TV stations and the Internet.
The footage, taken from the sidewalk through a window, showed the rats running around the floor, between counters and tables and on children's high chairs. The establishment was not open at the time.
Yum Brands , which is the parent of KFC and Taco Bell, said the franchise owner of the restaurant is "actively addressing this issue." The Louisville, Ky., company said the restaurant will remain closed until the problem is "completely resolved."
"Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our customers," the company said in a written statement. "This is completely unacceptable and is an absolute violation of our high standards."
Last week, it was reported that Taco Bell sales had slumped after a widelypublicized 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.
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.