Murphy’s Law states that “anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” When you look up the term in the dictionary, there ought to be a picture of Chipotle restaurant above it. This is because everything that could go wrong has gone wrong at the famed fast food burrito restaurant in the last few years (and days). Back in 2015, the chain made headlines with an E. coli outbreak that forced the closure of 43 restaurants and nearly ruined them. The company’s been trying to bounce back, but after a week which saw a norovirus outbreak in Virginia and rats falling from the ceiling in Dallas, the company’s garnering some negative attention once again. And it’s caused stock prices to plummet, which has opened a can of worms in the conspiracy world.
Could this many unfortunate occurrences really happen at one fast food chain? How come McDonald’s, Burger King, or even rival Moe’s haven’t had similar illness outbreaks? Not everyone believes Chipotle could possibly have this much bad luck, and Aaron Allen, a principal at the restaurant-consulting firm Aaron Allen & Associates, thinks something much more sinister might be happening. So he went on LinkedIn to share his thoughts (which, we must note, are compelling but completely theoretical).
Allen believes that stockholders are shorting Chipotle’s stock, meaning that they actually make more money if the stock numbers go south. “Chipotle short-sellers saw their ambitions rewarded with $55 million in less than one day, thanks to this most recent incident,” he posted.
The assumption is that there’s an ongoing conspiracy to destroy Chipotle’s stock. This means, he surmises, that somebody (or many people) specifically planted disease-causing bacteria at various Chipotle restaurants. This doesn’t even seem like something that could happen in real life. It seems like the plot of 12 Monkeys in which Bruce Willis has to stop a maniac from spreading a virus throughout the world. But, this is real life and no hero swooped in at the last second to stop the villain from releasing the harmful bacteria.
The idea of corporate sabotage first surfaced during the 2015 outbreak. The whole ordeal left people wondering just how a disaster of that magnitude could possibly happen at a national chain restaurant. If it only happened to a few people at one restaurant, it would make sense. But hundreds of customers at multiple restaurants? What are the odds? Allen doesn’t believe it’s possible. “Though it might seem far-fetched, there are some facts that suggest the near-endless food safety scandals plaguing Chipotle belie something more sinister than simple misfortune.” Another thing to consider: Is the class-action lawsuit that Chipotle’s shareholders brought against the company last week more evidence that sabotage is afoot?
So, what are the odds this is actually true? It’s pretty unlikely that a corporations would infect customers to make a little extra money (or is it?). But in a world where a new conspiracy theory seems to pop up every week, it’s hard to tell fact from fiction. If it isn’t true, then the only explanation is that Chipotle is the most unlucky restaurant chain in the world. If that’s the case, not even adding queso to the menu may save them.