eater.com – It’s been nearly two years since Chipotle’s massive food-safety crisis sent its reputation and stock prices into a tailspin. In late 2015, the formerly robust burrito chain was linked with a rash of norovirus, salmonella, and E. coli outbreaks that impacted hundreds of customers across multiple states. The events triggered a federal investigation as well as lawsuits from customersand Chipotle’s own shareholders, while raising serious questions about the company’s supply chain and ability to enforce food safety standards at its restaurants.
Chipotle attempted to repair the damage with a multi-pronged comeback plan involving lofty statements like becoming “industry leaders in food safety.” The chain hired new food safety consultants and promised to adopt new food-safety protocols and procedures. It also increased the frequency of in-store inspections and announced it would add bar codes to individual food items to help the company track ingredients back to their origin point, in the event of future outbreaks. At the same time, Chipotle’s marketing team was working to attract customers back to stores by giving away loads of free burritos and beefing up its marketing budget with a $50 million investment.
Once you’ve been scorned by a E-coli burrito bowl I don’t think offering more of the same for free is going to change anyone’s mind.