Will Chipotle recover from outbreaks and a criminal probe?
It wasn’t that long ago when analysts were pointing to Chipotle Mexican Grill as the restaurant chain that everyone was looking to emulate. That’s not the case anymore after multiple outbreaks of E.coli and norovirus have sickened customers and brought the chain the type of press that drives sales to other restaurants.
Same-store sales at the chain’s restaurants fell 14.6 percent in the fourth quarter. The quarterly decline was the first for Chipotle as a public company.
To potentially make matters worse, Chipotle acknowledged that it is the subject of a federal criminal investigation related to a norovirus outbreak at one of its restaurants in Simi Valley, California. According to reports, 234 customers and employees fell ill in August after being exposed to a sick worker who wasn’t sent home. The company has acknowledged that internal protocols in place since 2008 were not followed in the Simi Valley case.
Chipotle and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the central district of California, which is working with the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Office of Criminal Investigations, declined to comment on the investigation.
- Chipotle Vows to ‘Cooperate Fully’ With Criminal Probe of Virus Outbreak – ABC News
- Chipotle Sales Plunge as Troubled Chain Gets Federal Subpeona – Bloomberg
- Chipotle’s food safety woes lead to criminal investigation, sales slide – USA Today
What is your assessment of Chipotle’s response to the various outbreaks that have hit its restaurants over the past year? Do you expect the chain to rebound from negative press surrounding these incidents?