What began as a routine TV news story about a failed health inspection ended in chaos late last week as a CBS46 reporter and photographer were forced to leave a Denny’s in DeKalb County.
Video shows restaurant employees yelling at and possibly hitting reporter Adam Murphy and a photographer who went into the Denny’s to question its recent failing health score. The encounter quickly circulated around the internet.
But why did that Denny’s score a 52 in the first place?
The chain restaurant on Panola Road near Lithonia (technically in the city of Stonecrest) was hit with more than a dozen violations in its April 30 inspection report. Citations included “different types of flying insects” noticed around the kitchen, according to the DeKalb County Board of Health report.
Also, all the cooler units along the cook line were “extremely unclean, with food debris, food splatter and food spillage,” the inspector wrote. An employee was also seen pulling their pants up while wearing a glove, and then preparing food. According to the report, the restaurant also kept deli meat more than a month after its use-by date.
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The store manager was out of town during the inspection, employees told the health inspector. As a result, there was an “overall lack of managerial control regarding food safety within the facility in the store manager's absence,” the report stated.
The previous two years, the Denny’s passed its inspection with scores of 84 and 93.
In a statement following the CBS46 incident, the company said in a statement that it is “disappointed by the inappropriate and unacceptable behavior of the employees.
“We have spoken to the franchisee at this location and he has taken immediate action to ensure the restaurant meets our high brand standards and has taken appropriate action with employees.”
When Channel 2 Action News visited the restaurant, employees could not comment on the failing score since the manager was still out of town.
The restaurant will be able to improve its score in a follow-up inspection.
Denny’s, founded in 1953, is known for its around-the-clock, diner-style franchise service.
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