Chipotle’s Free Burritos Have Helped People Regain Their Chill About E. Coli

Chipotle Becomes First Non-GMO US Restaurant Chain
Getty Image

And the Chipotle Saga continues, this time trending in a positive direction. After a very tumultuous few months, courtesy of an E. coli outbreak — the sources of which remain suspiciously ambiguous — things are finally looking better for the (co-opted Mission) burrito giant. However, a lot of damage was done, so think more along the lines of the Little Engine That Could’s philosophy of, “I think I can, I think I can” and less along the lines of Rosie the Riveter’s “We Can Do It!”

It appears things hit rock bottom back in January, at which time 78% of adults surveyed by William Blair & Co. said they hadn’t eaten Chipotle in two months. Things began to improve after a very generous marketing strategy advertised and distributed delicious, disease-free FREE food. While Chipotle stock is still down 28% since the start of the outbreak, shares have risen each month since and are up 12% since the new year.

Analysis of Chipotle’s progress comes from a William Blair & Co. survey of 800 adults which has been conducted monthly since the E. coli outbreak in November. According to the survey, although the percentage of rejecters is still high, the number of people who are “very worried” about food safety at Chipotle has decreased by five percent in the last two months. (You see now what we meant about gradual progress.)

The Mexican Fast Foodery is still not out of the clear once people dismiss their health woes either. Unless they give out more free food, March is sure to lack the same boost that February experienced. Plus, a Chipotle restaurant in Southern California is facing a criminal probe because of a norovirus outbreak in the summer. AND the company was subpoenaed as part of a larger investigation.

We have an idea that could lure people back in, but it’s still a little rough around the edges. FREE GUACAMOLE 4 EVA! Chipotle might have to accept a bit of a loss, but people would love it and they’d want to brag about it on social media. How hasn’t this happened yet?

(Via CNBC)