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An Iowa Taco Joint Lost 25 Percent of Its Business After This Picture of an Employee Hit the Internet

Business

"She was extremely rude because I was upset with her appearance and behavior."

An Iowa restaurant has seen its business drop after a customer shared a photo online of an employee preparing food...barefoot.

Melinda Halvorsen was fired after a customer caught her preparing food barefoot . Halvorsen's actions caused the restaurant's business to decline by 25 percent since the Aug. 8 incident (Image source: KCCI-TV)

Melinda Halvorsen, 31, who was fired after the Aug. 8 incident, was a “team leader” for five years at the Taco John’s in Charles City, Iowa, the Des Moines Register reported. She had apparently come in from mowing the franchise’s grass and decided to prepare a meal for herself and her two friends.

In full view of the customers, a sweaty, non-uniformed and barefoot Halvorsen went about preparing the meals.

Customer Danielle Tiesmessen snapped a photo on the scene on a cell phone and uploaded it to Facebook with the caption: “This is in Charles City Iowa Taco John’s!! This woman was preparing food with bare feet, no uniform, her bra and chest hanging out all over the place, she was pouring sweat, wiping it off with her hands and not washing them. I asked for the manager — she WAS the manager!! She was extremely rude because I was upset with her appearance and behavior.”

The photo spread on Facebook with many users leaving angry and negative comments.

After reviewing the franchise’s security footage, owner Linda Johnson fired Halvorsen for violating state health regulations and company policies including failing to pay for the food she took to make herself and her friends.

But Halvorsen's firing apparently wasn’t enough to placate customers. The franchise owner says the store’s business has seriously lagged since the August incident.

In fact, as the Daily Mail noted, business has declined by a full 25 percent since the incident, adding that Johnson’s agreement with Taco John’s has been jeopardized by Halvorsen’s behavior.

Meanwhile, Halvorsen has lost her appeal to collect unemployment benefits because officials found that she did indeed violate several health codes. They also found that her actions hurt her former place of employment, rendering her ineligible for benefits.

Taco John's in Charles City, Iowa. The chain bills itself as a "West-mex" eatery (Image source: Google maps)

The picture of a barefoot and sweaty Halvorsen, which was originally posted to Taco John’s Facebook page, has since been removed.

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Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

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