Domino’s Pizza CEO apologizes for rats in Haifa branch
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Domino’s Pizza CEO apologizes for rats in Haifa branch

Yossi Elbaz says viral video of rodents was the exception, not the rule; Health Ministry finds building in ‘poor condition’

Rats seen eating pizza at a branch of Domino's Pizza in Haifa on February 1, 2019. (Screen capture/Ynet)
Rats seen eating pizza at a branch of Domino's Pizza in Haifa on February 1, 2019. (Screen capture/Ynet)

The CEO of Domino’s Pizza in Israel on Monday apologized to the public after rats were seen on the loose in the kitchen of one of its parlors in a viral video.

Footage of at least four of the rodents feasting on dough or flour inside and around a pizza tray last Thursday forced the temporary shuttering of the Domino’s in Merkaz Hacarmel, an upscale neighborhood of Haifa.

“I started making pizzas for Domino’s 22 years ago,” Yossi Elbaz said in a video posted on Facebook. “Like you, I was shocked by the video showing pests at the Merkaz Hacarmel branch in Haifa. I would like to apologize for that from the bottom of my heart.

“In a business selling food to clients, there is no room for such mishaps. I have closed the branch, and I promise we won’t open it until we ensure such a mishap won’t happen again,” he added, vowing to share publicly the actions taken by the management.

Elbaz said Domino’s operates with full transparency and holds itself to strict sanitation and cleanliness standards, arguing that the rat incident was the exception to that rule.

The Health Ministry on Sunday inspected the now-closed eatery, emerging with “severe findings” and concluding that the building was in a “poor state.”

The rats appeared at about 2 a.m. earlier last week. Haifa resident Gil Yehuda spotted them on his way back from a night out, he told Ynet.

“We approached the shop display and saw them. It was insanely disgusting,” Yehuda said. He took a cellphone video of the rodents and put it on the social networks Instagram and Facebook.

Last week, a Domino’s Pizza spokesperson told Ynet that the local franchise has been dealing with pests for a while.

“The eatery borders on the Carmelit subway, which has been undergoing massive renovations recently,” the spokesperson said. “These works are creating an unprecedented plague of pests. We’ve contacted the municipality several times to address this issue immediately.”

JTA contributed to this report.

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