FOOD POISONING :
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Theres a Crisis at Chipotle
Theres a Crisis at Chipotle
Food poisonings and other challenges
are threatening the darling of fast food’s reputation
By Roberto A. Ferdman and Abha Bhattarai
December 9, 2015 at 7:56 PM
A shorter URL for the above link:
Chipotle became the darling of the fast-food world by attracting millennials, blue-collar workers and even whole families with its promise of high-quality, sustainably sourced Mexican-inspired cuisine. But a series of food poisonings and other challenges are threatening its reputation and underscoring the difficulty of meeting the needs of a generation of diners who increasingly demand inexpensive food that is safe, natural and nutritious.
The latest crisis began last month when Chipotle closed 43 restaurants in Washington state and Oregon after health authorities linked an E. coli outbreak to six restaurants in the region. Illnesses contracted at Chipotles have since been reported in seven more states, including Illinois, Pennsylvania and Maryland.
Then this week, at least 80 students at Boston College fell ill after eating at a Chipotle, leading the company to close another restaurant. Boston health officials said the cause was norovirus, a common virus, while citing the restaurant for two health violations: improper handling of poultry and the presence of a sick employee.
After years of strong growth and accolades, Chipotle suddenly is facing the same critical challenge brand names such as Costco and Blue Bell ice cream confronted when serious questions were raised about the quality or safety of one of their products. About a decade ago, Taco Bell’s business shrank for more than a year after an E. coli outbreak, even though it rapidly fixed the problem.
In each case, the company recovered, but customers have begun demanding better-quality food without being willing to pay much more for it. That mean the pressures on companies to achieve both affordability and quality are greater than ever.
Chipotle’s reputation is perhaps more at risk than most in the fast-food industry because the chain has promised that it adheres to more-rigorous standards for procuring and serving its food. Now, industry experts warn it could face a permanent red mark even if the latest spate of setbacks proves temporary.
“The real red flags are repetitive failures,” said Arun Lakshmanan, a marketing professor at the University at Buffalo’s School of Management. “When there is repetition, that’s what really damages credibility. It’s a risky position for Chipotle to be in now.”
The complete article may be read at the URL above.
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