Red Rooster returns after photo scandal
Aussies were stunned when disturbing pictures of Red Rooster chickens began circulating on social media last week.
But now, the popular fast food chain has confirmed the restaurants at the heart of the scandal have been reopened - under new management.
The saga began last week when leaked photos emerged which appeared to show a breach of food handling standards.
The images shared on Facebook show a pile of cooked chickens stuffed into the back of a branded hatchback outside a store in Forrestfield in Perth.
The unsanitary process was made even more alarming as the birds were reportedly being transported on a day when temperatures had exceeded 30C.
Red Rooster abruptly closed two stores in Waypoint and Forrestfield in Western Australia as a result - but in a company statement released today, it appears they are back in business.
"We are pleased to announce that both our Waypoint and Forrestfield Red Rooster restaurants will reopen today under new management," the statement reads.
"We would like to thank our customers for their patience and apologise for the inconvenience caused as we worked to finalise reopening arrangements.
"Red Rooster holds customer and team safety as its highest priority. In response to this incident the following immediate steps were taken."
According to the company, those steps included the stores engaging with the City of Kalamunda Council, "to review both restaurants to ensure they met health and safety standards prior to reopening,," and, "an assessment of all facilities," by operational auditors to, "ensure they meet our high standards."
All potentially impacted product was removed and disposed of and all equipment and facilities were thoroughly cleaned and sanitised. Staff in the affected stores attended a food safety retraining session, with an additional session to be arranged for those on annual leave, and "new corporate management implemented".
"Today, the crew members in both restaurants will be offered continuity of employment under new management and our suppliers will recommence the delivery of fresh produce," Red Rooster CEO Clint Ault said.
"Red Rooster has been part of the WA and broader Australian community for over 45 years and while this isolated incident has been disappointing, we are excited to be reopening these restaurants."
The original pictures were taken by witness Mark Copley, who spoke of his shock at the discovery to 10 Daily.
"The chooks were on rotisserie skewers being brought into the store," Mr Copley told the publication.
"The boot was lined with cardboard but nothing else. Not wrapped, not refrigerated.
"The opportunity for cross-contamination is immense, plus the fact food is stored in the danger zone for temperature."
At the time, Red Rooster confirmed to news.com.au that it had closed both Waypoint and Forrestfield in Western Australia after the photos surfaced on social media, saying it is "extremely disappointed by the incident".