The U.S. News and World Report explained Chipotle Mexican Grill has suffered embarrassments that have continued after their food illness outbreak. The outbreak occurred between October and December 2015. Since then, Chipotle Mexican Grill has suffered from reduced sales, corporate drug accusations, and failed attempts to restore their image and reputation.
It was reported, the customers of Chipotle Mexican Grill were sickened by either E. coli, norovirus, or salmonella. In January 2016, the chain decided to temporarily close their doors on Feb. 8. The Motley Fool stated that although the food crisis ended six months ago, Chipotle Mexican Grill’s sales have fallen dramatically with no sign of rebounding.
To combat this negative attention, Chipotle Mexican Grill decided to release a video on YouTube. The video was called “A Love Story” and began with a cover of “I Want It That Way” playing in the background. As of Aug. 2, the video has been viewed over 6.8 million times.
“A Love Story” is a video about two competing lemonade stands. CNBC reported that the video gave Chipotle Mexican Grill the opportunity to separate themselves from their fast-food competitors. However, it was not enough to revive the sales of the restaurant chain. Chipotle Mexican Grill has continued to experience ongoing embarrassment from their food illness outbreak.
The Value Walk argued that Mark Crumpacker, 53, worked as an executive at Chipotle Mexican Grill since 2009. Crumpacker has added to the embarrassment of the restaurant chain due to an illegal drug scandal. He was caught buying cocaine on seven different occasions from a drug delivery service beginning January 2016.
Crumpacker was one of eighteen repeat customers of the service. They were all charged including the three people who ran the operation. The dates of his purchases coincided with some of the toughest events faced by Chipotle Mexican Grill, in the recent past.
On July 5, Crumpacker appeared in a New York State Court on misdemeanor charges and was released after his bail was paid. District Attorney Patrick Doherty stated that wiretaps had recorded Crumpacker ordering drugs 13 times. The most recent recording was from June 18. It was reported, Crumpacker’s orders were around $3,000 each and totaled $39,000.
“A Love Story” was released to combat the additional bad news for the restaurant chain. The video may have showcased the company’s renewed pledge to quality fresh ingredients but it was not enough to save their plummeting sales.
When the first customers became sick, Chipotle Mexican Grill suffered an immediate 40 percent drop in their stock and a 30 percent drop in sales. The restaurant’s struggle for recovery has been long and slow. It is believed that the chain has been unable to rebound from their food illness outbreak due to quickly spreading information on social media.
The internet allows for information to be shared across the country and around the world in an instant. However, there are many occasions where the information is not factual or reliable. There were rumors that Chipotle Mexican Grill employees in Boston were sick. Even though the restaurant denied any illnesses at any of their locations they still suffered financially.
Chipotle Mexican Grill has continued to suffer embarrassment after their food illness outbreak. “A Love Story” has helped rebuild the company’s reputation, but it does not seem to be enough to help their sales. Chipotle Mexican Grill began a summer rewards program during the 2016 season. The company is hopeful that the promotion will be significant enough to attract customers.
By Kristina Lasher
Edited by Jeanette Smith & Cathy Milne
U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT: Can This New Chipotle (CMG) Video Win Back Customers?
Value Walk: Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (CMG) Exec Allegedly Bought Cocaine Amid Health Scares
CNBC: Chipotle’s new animated ad slams rival fast food chains
The Motley Fool: How Social Media Is Killing Chipotle’s Recovery
Image Courtesy of John Hallett’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License