Manhattan Chipotle taken over by rats hungry for avocados and humans

New York, New York - These Chipotle employees fought a losing battle against avocado-hungry rats. After months of terror, the restaurant finally closed.

The first employee was bitten in October (stock image).
The first employee was bitten in October (stock image).  © 123rf/ Mahapolheran

As the New York Post reported, the first employee was bitten by a rat in October. After multiple sightings and confrontations, employees were afraid to go into the basement because they feared a "rat attack."

The first sign of the incoming infestation appeared this summer, in the form of small nibbles in the restaurant's avocado stash. Soon, the staff found holes gnawed into bags of rice and droppings in the food boxes. The sightings grew more and more frequent.

"All of the workers had horror stories about the rats," Luis Gustavo Paulino Ruiz told the Post. He himself was bitten before joining a group of employees who alerted the management to the problem, but nothing was done.

Employees fight fat bold rats any way they can

Employees accused the restaurant chain of prioritizing financial gain over their personal safety (stock image).
Employees accused the restaurant chain of prioritizing financial gain over their personal safety (stock image).  © imago images / ZUMA Wire

According to Ruiz and his colleagues, the rats became bolder and bolder – not to mention fatter and fatter. They seemed to be multiplying. The staff tried to protect the avocados by moving them into the cooler and cleaning more often.

But their efforts were in vain. They said they had to resort to any method possible to fight the infestation: stomping on the rodents, dropped boxes on them, and even battering them with brooms. But the onslaught continued.

"The whole situation seemed crazy to us, we definitely felt it was incorrect to keep the store open while all of this was happening," Ruiz said.

He criticized Chipotle for allowing workers to be subjected to such dangerous conditions and accused the company of being careless: "As long as they’re making money, they don’t really care what else happens."

Chipotle disputed Ruiz's claims in a statement and speculated that the rats must have come from somewhere around the restaurant.

In the end, the store located in Broadway near West 169th Street in Washington Heights was closed for deep cleaning after the manager was bitten on the hand on November 23.

But the cleaning wasn't enough. The rats kept coming, and employees said it was only when the rats chewed through the wires that powered the ordering system that the location was shut for good.

Cover photo: 123rf/ Mahapolheran

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