Chipotle its own worst enemy

September 25, 2017

by Brandon Kim Chaminade Prep 12th Grade

It seems as though that the only thing that can stop Chipotle from growing is themselves. On July 24, 2017, Chipotle confirmed that the norovirus cases from a Chipotle location in Virginia was true.

The restaurant was closed the week before following 135 people diagnosed with norovirus, according to ABC7.

Unfortunately for the many customers who frequent Chipotle, this has not been the first time that cases of illness have surfaced from the Mexican fast food chain. Chipotle faced a criminal investigation in early 2016 after closing stores nationwide for norovirus and e. Coli outbreaks that affected thousands of people. Although the instance in Virginia is a much smaller outbreak compared to a year ago, it still puts Chipotle’s health regulations in further doubt.

“The safety and well-being of our customers is always our top priority,” Chipotle CEO Steve Ells said in a statement. “It is unfortunate that anyone became ill after visiting our restaurant, and when we learned of this issue, we took aggressive action to correct the problem and protect our customers.”

Although Ells brings up the point that it is the duty of the restaurants to uphold the company’s policies, the company must be responsible for the conduct of their restaurants.

Despite the nationwide contamination of Chipotle restaurants last year, the company has been performing spectacularly. Forbes reports that Chipotle gained $1.17 billion in the second quarter of 2017, which is a 17.1% increase from the previous quarters. However, these numbers do not reflect the recent news of the Virginia norovirus outbreak, but one can see the immediate consequences through Chipotle’s stock investors.

According to Bloomberg, Chipotle stock sunk 7.6 percent after the first reports of illness were released to the press. Chipotle were only just beginning to reverse the damages inflicted by the 2015 food safety scare. At the peak of the mess, Chipotle’s sales lost hit a peak of 29.7% in Q1 2016, and only began to procure a positive increase in Q1 2017. The news of another food safety debacle could reverse Chipotle’s back breaking work of regaining customers’ trust.

Making matters worse, the norovirus cases in Virginia were not the only piece of news in Chipotle’s nightmare week. Customers posted videos of skittering mice in a Dallas Chipotle restaurant, CNN reports.“A few mice did get inside one restaurant from the outside due to a small structural gap in the building,”spokeswoman Quinn Kelsey said on July 20. Management immediately removed them, and the gap has been repaired.

As a solution to their problems, Chipotle announced on July 19 that they be launching a new food item called queso, which is a type of melted cheese dip. Mark Crumpacker, marketing officer of Chipotle, states that quesso will be rolling out to “more than 350 restaurants across markets within Central and Southern California and Colorado beginning on August 1.”

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