The Covent Garden branch of restaurant chain TGI Friday's was closed down for six days and the business fined £30k after environmental health inspectors found dead cockroaches, mouse droppings and grease-covered cabinets in its kitchens.
Inspectors from Westminster City Council shut the central London American-themed restaurant following an inspection on July 2 last year where they caught 65 mice and found kitchen units 'encrusted in a thick layer of yellow fat and grease.' Mice droppings were found in an open bag of sugar next to drinking straws and the bar area was also found to be in an unhygenic state.
On Wednesday the restaurant pleaded guilty to six offences under the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006 at City of Westminster Magistrates and was ordered to pay the maximum fine of £5k per offence, as well as covering all the council's costs.
Councillor Daniel Astaire, cabinet member for community safety at WCC, said: "These were appalling hygiene breaches, particularly for such a renowned restaurant chain which frankly, should have known better. We hope this serves as a lesson to all food businesses that such poor standards are not acceptable and that we will always push for the strongest possible punishment against offenders.
"The restaurant industry is a vital part of our economy, and we will not tolerate any behaviour which could jeopardise it or the safety of our millions of visitors."
TGI Friday's spent £66k cleaning the kitchens of the Bedford Place restaurant before it could be re-opened six days later.
The council had conducted a surprise visit on the restaurant after receiving six separate complaints from customers who had seen mice scuttling around inside. In court it was heard that staff had known about the infestation for more than a year.