A viral video of a bug-infested chicken sandwich caused so much stir on social media that it prompted an investigation by the Department of Business Regulation after a Florida news outlet covered the footage.
It all started when diner Haile Kirkland visited a Pensacola, Florida location of the fast-food chain Slim Chickens with her husband and noticed something on his food.
“At first I thought it was a burnt spot,” Kirkland told local outlet WEAR News 3. “And then when I picked it up I said, ‘That’s a whole bug.'”
Kirkland said that the manager could not “care less” and called the restaurant’s reaction “disgusting and unprofessional,” which led a friend of Kirkland’s who used to work in the restaurant to send her multiple videos of roaches crawling around the kitchen.
The diner took a video of the roach she found inside her husband’s chicken tender along with the other videos a worker had sent her and posted it to Facebook.
“I wanted to cry and it made it worse that the manager didn’t care,” Kirkland told one Facebook user in the comment section. “He was all, ‘Oh it happens.’ No, you idiot, it should never happen.”
After tagging WEAR in the post, the media outlet reached out to the state department, which then prompted a formal probe by the DBPR that found an alarming 20 dead roaches in the restaurant’s kitchen, which the store’s owner says were a result of pest elimination treatment.
When the DBPR came for a follow-up check-in the next day, the restaurant was “approved with no issues or violations” and therefore never closed or formally shut down.
“My team was immediately made aware of the complaint, and we responded swiftly to ensure all health & safety precautions were evaluated,” said the owner, who is remaining anonymous. “I met with our local pest elimination company the following morning at the restaurant to thoroughly inspect the premises and provide further pest elimination treatment. Although we believe all pest activity has been resolved they will continue to come out weekly to monitor and provide additional treatments as needed.”
Kirkland was compensated with over $100 in gift cards, including $50 to Slim Chickens. She also said that she spoke with the owner and received a formal apology and a full refund.
“I’m not gonna lie they have some of the best chicken in town, I just need it to be clean,” Kirkland told WEAR, musing over the thought of returning to the restaurant.