Silence Spikes Food Scare

This November, Chipotle has come under scrutiny for the E. Coli outbreak in its restaurants in the Pacific Northwest. According to PR Week, Chipotle finally broke the several-day silence and reached out to them to explain what steps they have taken to resolve the potentially deadly issue.

The article ends with the caution that Chipotle had yet to report any of the actions on their website. This could ultimately hurt Chipotle more than it could help. They may be taking the prudent steps to correct the issue that caused the outbreak but it’s hard to protect the brand if they avoid transparency about their actions. Silence breeds speculation.

From the day the crisis began Chipotle should have announced that they are taking the matter seriously and helping the investigation in any way possible. After initially closing eight locations, they should have disclosed the steps they were taking to resolve the issue such as removing all food from those locations, outsourcing food health services, and re-training employees on a national level. All of these statements should appear on the website as a cover page that each customer has to hit the “continue to site” arrow to pass. That ¬†would ensure transparency.

What other steps do you think Chipotle should have taken immediately? Does it appear they had a crisis plan in place?

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1 Response to Silence Spikes Food Scare

  1. Megan Brown says:

    I would have to argue that Chipotle most certainly did not have a crisis communications plan in place. You would think that a well-oiled machine like Chipotle would at least have some sore of strategy to implement should they have an issue with the safety of their food. Immediately, Chipotle should have acknowledged the mishap with a public statement the day the news broke. I agree with your other suggestions as well. Chipotle should have shared their plans to remove the remaining food and retrain all of their employees. Should this have happened to begin with, I believe there would have been far less public outcry from a missed response.

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