Chipotle announced today another 5 people contacted E Coli at their restaurants in the Midwest. The PR agency and Communications Director for Chipotle should be embarrassed. Their “cry wolf” letters to customers the last few weeks, delivered via full-page ads, were rookie mistakes. It’s not that that they shouldn’t have apologized, it’s just that the timing sucked. They hadn’t fixed the problem. The letters made is sound as if they had.
The news story suggested that because of Chipotle’s means of record keeping it was difficult to know which ingredient (of 60) was at fault. Fix the record keeping. Now.
It’s not easy feeding a million people a day. Especially if you set the high food standards Chipotle does. Standards more companies should follow. Don’t get me wrong, I love Chipotle (chicken burrito, black beans, queso, corn salsa, todo, but no sour cream). But they have to get their data and record keeping right. Then get their crisis management shit together. They have a lot of equity in the brand bank; in 2015 a good deal is slipping away.