Dirty Dining: Checkers temporarily closes after inspectors find 75+ live & dead roaches and ants

Posted at 10:47 PM, Jul 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-19 23:32:57-04
Checkers' website brags 'Our burgers are made of 100% Beef and served hot, juicy and fully loaded with flavor.'
But state inspectors were very concerned about one local kitchen in Clearwater where those burgers are being made.
Checkers at 1595 Missouri Avenue had to temporarily stop serving food to the public and shut down overnight on July 12 after inspectors found over 75 live and dead roaches all over the kitchen.
Roaches were discovered near the prep table, shelving with burger wrappers, in the bun warmer conveyor, next to and on top of the soda fountain, on the front of the ice cream machine, under the blender on the ice cream prep table, near the drive-thru soda fountain and under the soda box rack.
Roach excrement and four roach egg casings were also discovered in the ice machine motor compartment.
In addition, the state documented 'too many ants to count' throughout the kitchen, office, hood system and ceiling.
Inspectors also found food at dangerous temperatures, with dairy mix in one cream machine at 46 degrees. Cold food should be held at 41 degrees or below.
Other violations written in the inspection report include holes in the ceiling and walls, and metal paneling peeling away from the wall in the dish area and behind the ice machine.
Inspectors came back for a re-inspection on July 13 and still found ants in the premises, and gave Checkers until July 20 to correct the issue. The state also gave the restaurant an extension to fix the holes in the walls and other equipment in disrepair, but reopened the restaurant to the public.
The cleanliness and safety of our restaurants is our top priority. As soon as we were notified by the health department of a pest issue, we immediately sanitized the restaurant, passed inspection, and reopened the next day. The restaurant's response to the request to see the inspection report broke our policy and does not meet our standards. In accordance with Florida state laws, it is Checkers policy to keep a copy of health department reports on site, and show it to anyone who requests it. That policy has been reinforced with the management at this restaurant.
Kim Francis 
Checkers Spokesperson