- Chipotle has had a rough two years marked by E. coli scares and lackluster menu additions.
- The chain's efforts to turn things around have yet to really work.
- Chipotle still has a ways to go before it turns things around — if it can.
It's been a bumpy ride for Chipotle.
The chain's reputation has never truly recovered from the 2015 E. coli outbreak that left 50 people sick in 14 states. Chipotle's tarnished image has led to slumping sales growth, and third-quarter earnings missed targets. Most recently, Chipotle's stock fell nearly 6% after "Supergirl" star Jeremy Jordan blamed the burrito chain for an illness. And, according to IWasPoisoned.com, the rate of self-reported foodborne illnesses are at least nine times higher for Chipotle than all other restaurant chains.
To Chipotle's credit, the restaurant chain has tried to reignite the spark with loyalty programs, queso, and even free lunches. But the rewards program was limited and lackluster, the queso grainy, and the free food likely in vain.
We decided to visit Chipotle to see if the chain has made any improvements in its attempt to turn things around — or if it's stuck in a mire of its own making.
It's lunchtime — roughly 12:30 p.m. — at a Chipotle near our offices in the Flatiron neighborhood of New York City. The lines certainly aren't as long as they used to be.
The staff was polite but hurried. The ordering line went so fast, I wasn't even sure what I had ordered by the time I was paying for it. The queso was peddled strongly, and I gave in and ordered it to give it a second chance. I hadn't been crazy about it the first time I tried it.
There were customers in the restaurant, but I wouldn't call it busy. The line was fast —too fast for someone who isn't sure exactly what they want. I ended up ordering a chicken burrito, which has a menu price of $8.65.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider