Chipotle Mexican Grill will close its doors for lunch in all of its North American locations on Monday, February 8th for a one-day national food safety meeting. The meeting will focus on food safety changes the fast food chain plans to implement after foodborne illnesses diminished its reputation over the past seven months. A timeline of events (according to Food Safety News) are as follows:
- July – E. coli in Seattle (5 people)
- August – Norovirus in California (234 people)
- August/September – Salmonella in Minnesota (64 people)
- October – E. coli in nine states (52 people)
- December – Norovirus in Boston (136 people)
At Fallston Group, we always talk about crisis costing four things, and generally in this order – time, money, stakeholder confidence and careers. Chipotle is now well down this continuum. We commend Chipotle’s decision to take the financial hit (lost revenues and added expenses) on February 8th to begin the process of earning back consumer trust to ensure proper employee training which may prevent future foodborne illnesses.
Proactive leadership will begin to restore the reputational equity Chipotle has lost over the past seven months. However, employees at every level must be prepared to do everything possible, with transparency, to earn consuming trust back, day by day. Chipotle’s promise to the consuming public is:
We’re all about simple, fresh food without artificial flavors or fillers. Just genuine raw ingredients and their individual, delectable flavors. We source from farms rather than factories, and spend a lot more on our ingredients than many other restaurants. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
It’s now time to reaffirm their “In the Kitchen” promise. For more information on how to build, strengthen and defend your reputation, contact Fallston Group at 410.420.2001 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.