Chipotle Practices Transparency

Chipotle meeting tweetChipotle is working hard to improve its food safety procedures and its image. After several reported E. coli outbreaks, the company announced a four-hour closing of its 1,900 stores to retrain its employees. The meeting was live-tweeted via @ChipotleTweets.

Chipotle also announced a local grower initiative to help farmers meet the company's new food safety demands, which can be tough on small farmers. The initiative includes education and training, financial assistance, and opportunities for add new farmers with greenhouses and other technologies.

In a fully developed section of its website, Chipotle outlines new plans for food safety for suppliers and in restaurants.

The good news for Chipotle is that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) declared the outbreak over as of February 1. Chipotle CEO Steve Ells is, of course, confident about a comeback, but he's not alone. Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti expressed his confidence in the company's future as have analysts such as Darren Tristano, executive vice president of industry research firm Technomic: "Consumers have a surprisingly short memory. I would be surprised if it's still affecting them by mid-next year."

Discussion Starters:

  • How do you assess Chipotle's messaging? Analyze its website and social media presence. Consider the audience analysis, communication objectives, messaging, organization, tone, and so on. 
  • What's your prediction for Chipotle's future?