TOMS RIVER – The Ocean County Health Department’s (OCHD) recent inspection of the Popeye’s Louisiana Chicken on Route 37 in Toms River found only minor violations, none related to unsanitary conditions.
When a viral social media post raised concerns over the unsanitary conditions at the restaurant, citing rotten food, bugs, and filth, the OCHD stepped in to confirm or deny these suspicions. The post was made by Taj Davis, a former employee at the new Toms River location, on September 9.
The post read: “So I’ve Been Working At The Popeye’s On 37 since they opened almost 3 months ago ‘at first it was pretty decent only problem I had was we never got paid on time nor were our checks ever correct but that’s besides the point by the beginning of July these place was literally disgusting everything started falling apart & the management didn’t care to fix or improve anything when informed.”
Davis described the chicken being served as “foul” and smelling of rotten eggs as well as the workspace being infested with insects. In addition to this, Davis described being sent lewd photos by a member of the Popeye’s corporation.
“Nothing has yet to be done about it…Help me get this place shut down,” stated the post.
The social media post was accompanied by numerous pictures depicting what Davis described. The photos showed bugs, unsanitary working conditions, and rotten food.
When the OCHD caught wind of the issue, they performed an inspection on September 10. According to Brian Rumpf, Ocean County Health Department director, the department only found minor violations related to a leak and a door that did not shut, but nothing was found to substantiate Davis’ claims in the social media post.
“There was nothing that reflected what was depicted on social media,” said Rumpf.
According to the manager of the Toms River Popeye’s, Mohammed Faisul, the photos did not accurately depict the conditions inside the restaurant as they were taken before cleaning has been done and some were not even taken at the restaurant.
Popeye’s management alleged that these photos and “some bad apples” employed by the company were simply trying to make the franchise look bad. However, according to Davis, the photos in the post are time-stamped.
Popeye’s plans to revisit the sanitary training with employees, according to OCHD. The department also plans to follow up again with the restaurant regarding the minor violations.