Rancherito’s Reopens After Urination Video, Inspection History Far From ‘Clean’

Dec 16, 2019, 8:19 PM

DRAPER, Utah – The Rancherito’s at 12250 South State Street reopened just a day after the restaurant was shut down following a cell phone video that showed an employee urinating in the kitchen went viral.

A customer was in the drive-thru Sunday morning when he saw the worker urinating in a corner of a food preparation area.

“I was in shock. Like honestly I was in shock and I was like man, I’ve got to get this on video because if it’s just my word nobody is going to believe me,” said Robert Talivakaloa.

Talivakaloa posted the video to Facebook and it was viewed more than 70,000 times before it was taken down.

The Salt Lake County Health Department also got wind of it and sent out an inspector, who ordered the restaurant to shut down Sunday.

Rancherito’s employees spent Sunday sanitizing and even discarding food and utensils that may have been contaminated.

Monday morning, health department officials had a meeting with management to find out what they plan to do so something like this never happens again.

“It’s really essential for our inspectors to have that one-to-one conversation with the owner/operator so we can determine that they really understand the gravity of the situation and that they understand the things they need to do to meet the minimum requirements for operating a food service facility in the county,” said Nicholas Rupp, spokesperson for the Salt Lake County Health Department.

Health officials were satisfied with what was said in the meeting, so they came out and reinspected the restaurant and gave it the go-ahead to reopen Monday morning.

As for the employee, he was immediately fired and his food handler’s permit was revoked so he can’t work at another restaurant.

While the health department determined Rancherito’s was clean enough to reopen, the chain does not have a clean history.

KSL discovered multiple violations and complaints about several of the restaurants in Salt Lake County, including the Draper location.

In August 2019, a customer sent a complaint to the health department saying his burrito was full of weird-smelling pieces of an unknown substance, as well as hair.

Another customer complaint said they found wire in their food.

“Their current ranking on our website is 22%, which means they have scored better than 22% of other restaurants within their category,” said Rupp.

But the Salt Lake County Health Department also said this means they fare worse than 78% of all restaurants.

KSL took a look at the other eight Rancherito’s in Salt Lake County. None score higher than 29% and one location in West Valley City was at the very bottom in the rankings with a rating of 0%.

The West Valley City location has a different owner than the Draper store and it was shut down in July for what health officials called “imminent health hazards due to lack of managerial control.”

Complaints at other locations include claims of foodborne illness, insect wings inside cups and multiple sightings of cockroaches.

One customer even said an employee killed a cockroach with their bare hands and returned to the food preparation area without washing their hands.

Rupp said the Salt Lake County Health Department likes hearing from the public and they send inspectors to a restaurant every time they get a complaint.

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Rancherito’s Reopens After Urination Video, Inspection History Far From ‘Clean’