Let’s face it. Many have have an intense loyalty to Chipotle and their overstuffed burritos, fresh guacamole and tortilla chips with the perfect touch of lime. Their following seems unshakable, but the international chain has faced a crisis in the last week that could affect sales and the company’s standing as leader of the fast-casual dining trend.
According to CNN, the company has seen at least 35 cases of E Coli break out in both Washington and Oregon. To ease the panic, Chipotle released several statements informing customers how they where handling the situation.
In the statement, the company said it was acting quickly by temporarily closing 43 restaurants in the two states affected, even though only eight locations are targets of concern.
Chipotle is sanitizing and deep cleaning all of its restaurants in the area, as well as conducting environmental and food testing at these restaurant locations and the distribution centers.
Steve Ells, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle said in a statement, “The safety of our customers and the integrity of our food supply has been our highest priority.”
There have been no deaths as a result of the current infection, according to the Washington State Department of Health. Seven patients from Washington and three patients from Oregon were hospitalized.
It appears that Chipotle has chosen to be safe rather than sorry with the closings of more restaurants than were directly affected by the outbreak. Will the drastic measure affect their customer base in a positive way because they were proactive? Or will it draw attention to the issue that they have managed to keep relatively under wraps and away from social media?