Chipotle: Moving in the Right Direction


For our last blog post, we were asked to choose a specific company and to search for critics or opponents who challenge that organization’s mission. For this week’s post, we were required to choose a company that someone wrote about last week and to investigate the other side of the story. Because we were asked to choose a company at the end of our three-hour class, my mind (and stomach) lit up once Chipotle was mentioned, so that’s what I went with.

Last week, though there were two blog posts written about Chipotle, there was one main issue that was discussed: the recent E. Coli outbreak that Chipotle was accused of being connected to. Just to provide some statistics, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of December 2nd of last year, 52 people from nine states were sickened and of those, about 20 were hospitalized. Luckily, there were no deaths, but even so, this is still an issue that needed to be addressed. This was especially concerning because of Chipotle’s promise that they were providing their customers with “Food with Integrity,” which is clearly not the case. All that being said, I believe Chipotle was actually able to somewhat make up for it’s errors by delivering a press release in which they committed to “Becoming an Industry Leader in Food Safety.”

The press release outlined Chipotle’s new enhanced food safety program. Essentially, the program components include implementing high-resolution testing (that far exceeds requirements of state and federal regulatory agencies) of all fresh produce before being shipped to restaurants, testing ingredient samples to ensure that quality specifications are maintained throughout the shelf life of an ingredient, pursuing continuous improvements throughout its supply chain to enhance the ability to measure the performance of its suppliers, and enhancing internal training to ensure that all employees understand the company’s high standards for food safety and food handling. While this will not bring previous E. Coli victims back to health, I think that this quick and thorough reaction to the problem at hand was exactly how any company should have handled a situation like this.

According to the CDC, the E. Coli outbreaks “appear to be over,” which means that Chipotle has been keeping its promise to strive to become an “industry leader in food safety.” I also could not find any other information pointing to another outbreak since the press release. Even though there is no way I would ever stop eating at Chipotle, this news has restored the little bit of respect and faith I lost in the company after reading last week’s blog posts. However, that is my own opinion. Do any of you think Chipotle should’ve handled this situation differently?

 

Sources:

http://ir.chipotle.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=194775&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=2120228

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/02/01/465182718/e-coli-outbreaks-at-chipotle-restaurants-appear-to-be-over-cdc-says

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/02/01/cdc-declares-chipotle-linked-e-coli-outbreak-over.html

 

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9 thoughts on “Chipotle: Moving in the Right Direction

  1. I think that Chipotle did a fantastic job of owning up to their mistake. Sure they made some mistakes that costed a lot of people their health and peace of mind, but they fixed the problem and now it is over. I also would never stop eating Chipotle but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t nervous when eating there. This news that they have turned it around takes some of the anxiety away from eating there. I compare them to Nike because of the way Nike turned into an industry leader in working conditions, I hope Chipotle can do the same and they will keep my business!

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  2. I think you make a good point and it is interesting to see how many people didn’t care about what was happening at Chipotle and continued to eat there, willing to take the risk of getting E. Coli. I remember when the Chipotle in Lewisburg opened and seeing lines that were literally going out of the door, full of people waiting to get their burritos despite what the news was reporting. I even found myself in that line a few weeks later (had to see if everyone was okay first, obviously). I wonder what it is about Chipotle that makes its customers so loyal to their food – price? taste? Surely other places serve burritos at the same cost..

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  3. As Mona mentioned, Chipotle does a really good job with developing its brand loyalty. I think Chipotle handled the situation in the best, and quite frankly the only way, they could have. While its unfortunate that it takes recalls and outbreaks like these for food chains to change their ways, situations like these force companies to re-evaluate the quality of its suppliers, strengthen its contingency/ training programs, and overall better food safety measures. Let’s face it, Chipotle is probably now cleaner than it has ever been and will be increasingly more careful going forward.

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  4. Nice post. Its obviously a good thing that Chipotle is now proclaiming itself an industry leader in the realm of food safety, but its still a shame that an health outbreak of such magnitude had to occur in order for these changes to take place. You have to raise the question as to why these food safety initiatives were not part of Chipotle’s business model from the beginning.

    Honestly, I think this post and the comments offer an overly optimistic viewpoint of how Chipotle handed the situation. I know people, my age, younger, older, who still will not eat Chipotle because of the e. coli outbreak. Although the CDC said the outbreak is done, I do not think that the damage done to Chipotle’s brand image is entirely fixed. People speak of Chipotle’s customer loyalty. especially with millennials and younger individuals, but I dont think this is enough to completely fix their deepening financial issues, which were only made worse my having to invest so much in these food safety standards. Fact of the matter is we may continue to eat at Chipotle, but theres many people who might decide just not to risk it….

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  5. “Even though there is no way I would ever stop eating at Chipotle, this news has restored the little bit of respect and faith I lost in the company after reading last week’s blog posts.” I couldn’t summarize my opinion on Chipotle any better than that. While it may not be the most rational defense, because I wasn’t personally affected by any of Chipotle’s food quality issues, and because I believe a day without a burrito is a day wasted, I won’t stop eating there.

    Your post reminded me of this clip I saw on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver-

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  6. Like most of you, I am lover of Chipotle and I am happy to hear that they have addressed all of the concerns surrounding the safety of their ingredients. More than their new commitment to food safety however, I find their initiative to give out free burritos to all of their a customers a bit curious. If it was shown that using an iPhone caused cancer, but the Apple said they were taking care of it and redistributed free iPhones would you take one? Maybe your answer is yes but it seems that the two solutions offered were done so quite separately.

    On one hand, Chipotle is addressing the health and safety concerns by reorganising its food sourcing and storage procedures. Can this have taken effect that quickly though? In just the same week they are already offering free burritos. In addition, their new commitment and the free burritos seem to target two different types of customers. Some patrons prefer to hear about the safety of the food before eating there again, while others simply go for the free food regardless of its safety. I think this says more about Americans than it does of Chipotle. This points to the divide in those who care about the product or service they receive and those who care about the way that product or service is created. It provides us with a perspective of what Americans think of corporate social responsibility and, in witnessing these events, I think that less people care than I thought.

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  7. It seems that chipotle has taken a proactive approach to their problems which is the best move in my opinion. Like you said they have now upped their food safety standards to far above the legal minimum. This is something they needed to do in order to gain back customer trust in their company. I was someone who loved Chipotle before the outbreak, but for a while, I was concerned about it and did not visit a Chipotle location for several months. I now feel much more comfortable eating there because they took on their issues head on and hopefully the company is better for it.

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  8. Everyone has their difficulties in business, and while this outbreak of E-coli was unfortunate and there were many victims, Chipotle handled it very well. A mistake like this has only made Chipotle an even cleaner and more natural food company already due to the precautions it has implemented since the outbreak. Hopefully, these precautions will withstand further disease and Chipotle can continue selling organic local foods. Although, if Chipotle slips up again the general public will deem it a unsanitary and disgusting fast food restaurant. As most of you have said, I hope the day never comes.

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