Recently, multiple Oakland, California, Taco Bell locations announced the closure of their dining rooms amid a surge in criminal activity. Reportedly, the restaurants will only serve customers through a cashless drive-through to prioritize the safety of customers and employees.

According to an official statement from Taco Bell: “Providing a safe environment for team members and customers is the priority at Taco Bell restaurants. The franchise owner and operator has informed us that they are consistently evaluating and working to ensure a safe environment by implementing procedures, such as closing dining rooms, and hiring security guards, and they have taken extra measures to meet with local law enforcement”.

Following the decision to close the dining room, one employee at the Oakland Taco Bell commented, “It’s closed because some people sometimes make trouble.” Oakland residents have also expressed disappointment with the fast food restaurant’s move to serve customers only at the drive-through.

“We got a whole bunch of businesses bouncing because they’re not safe no more,” one long-time member of the community said, voicing the need for change in the area. “It shouldn’t happen… the situation has got to change, period.” Another person added, “It’s not cool for people to not be able to (go into the dining room) and only have to go through the drive-thru.”

Taco Bell is just the latest of several fast food chains in the Oakland community to shut down indoor dining due to rampant crime. Last year, Raising Cane’s closed its indoor dining room, citing criminal activity such as car break-ins and robbery.

Earlier this year, the critically acclaimed California-based burger chain In-N-Out announced its first-ever store closure in Oakland over “ongoing issues” with crime. The American Tribune reported on CEO Denny Warwick’s comments about the closure.

“We have made the decision to close our In-N-Out Burger location in Oakland, California, due to ongoing issues with crime. Despite taking repeated steps to create safer conditions, our Customers and Associates are regularly victimized by car break-ins, property damage, theft, and armed robberies. Our last day of business in Oakland will be Sunday, March 24, 2024,” a statement from Warwick read.

“We are grateful for the local community, which has supported us for over 18 years, and we recognize that this closure negatively impacts our Associates and their families. Additionally, this location remains a busy and profitable one for the company, but our top priority must be the safety and wellbeing of our Customers and Associates – we cannot ask them to visit or work in an unsafe environment,” the statement continued. “All affected Associates will have the opportunity to transfer to a nearby In-N-Out location or, alternatively, receive a severance package.”

In recent years, there has been a notable trend of businesses shutting down operations in crime-stricken cities such as San Francisco. The American Tribune reported last month on the Union Square Macy’s closing down, where employees detailed how the business was losing exorbitant sums of money to theft. “I’m not in charge of making the estimates of how much we lose in a day, but last year we were told the losses were in the millions,” one employee said.