Franchisee of rat-infested unit closes other NYC stores

FAIRFIELD N.J. ADF Cos., the operator of the Taco Bell/KFC outlet in New York City that was shuttered following a highly publicized rodent infestation, has closed its quick-service restaurants in the city until they have been "fully inspected and given a clean bill of health," according to president Don Harty.

Aspokeswoman for the multiunit franchisee of Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut, said "a handful" of the company's restaurants have been closed. Press reports put the number at 10 units, with three closed earlier in the week by health department officials.

The ADF spokeswoman declined to say how many total foodservice units the company operates, but widely varying indications agree that the tally is several hundred.

Yum! Brands Inc., the Louisville, Ky.-based parent of the three quick-service brands, said it has been working with ADF following the incident, adding, "We will not compromise on our food and restaurant quality." In a statement, ADF's Harty said: "We are embarrassed by the situation and stress that certain restaurants did not meet the very high standards that we set for ourselves. We apologize to our customers and are working around the clock to resolve this matter."

ADF said it plans to reopen the New York restaurants "with new procedures." ADF operates the three Yum Brands, along with several Bennigan's outlets in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Alabama, Florida and Tennessee.

The rat rampage at the Taco Bell/KFC outlet has sparked a crackdown by New York health inspectors. An Au Bon Pain outlet in midtown Manhattan also was shuttered by health inspectors after NBC showed two rats running around inside the restaurant. The Boston-based chain said its pest control services have been instructed to immediately reinspect all of ABPĂ•s outlets in the five boroughs.