On Managing a Crisis: Chipotle

February 8, 2016

by Vianka McConville

Is my Chipotle burrito safe to eat?

After many months, I’ve decided that, for me, the answer is yes.

Since August 2015, Chipotle has battled food safety concerns from outbreaks of norovirus, Salmonella and E. coli in numerous states.  I will admit I was one of those people who stayed away from the chain for the past six months due to a fear of getting sick.  However, I’ve changed my tune and can’t wait to devour a burrito in the near future.

Here’s why I’ve decided to give Chipotle another try:

Communication about the incidents has been transparent and readily available, information is thorough, and apologies feel heartfelt and honest.

The level of effort that Chipotle has put into communicating to me that the chain has taken every possible step to ensure my safety earned back my trust.

That’s good public relations.

The battle is far from over for the Mexican chain.  The good fight continues today with a company-wide meeting on food safety that shuts all restaurant doors until 3 p.m., but invites everyone in on the conversation by live-tweeting the event.  As a competing Mexican grill, Moe’s ran a full-page ad in USA Today touting its restaurants would be open all day.

There’s a long road ahead, but Chipotle has a great compass in hand.

No Guac for You!

May 30, 2013

by Kim Taylor

Hopefully you read that headline in the voice of the legendary Soup Nazi from “Seinfeld,” because standing at the counter last night at Chipotle reminded me of the famous episode.  Only, instead of yelling about soup, Chipotle was preempting orders for its delicious guacamole with this in-your-face sign.

I love everything about this approach to customer service.  It’s blunt and to the point, but then you read below the boldface print and you get a warm fuzzy feeling about their rationale for not serving lousy guacamole.  Frankly, it’s possible their GM just forgot to order avocados, but I don’t care.  The message is consistent with Chipotle’s brand and image of serving only the freshest ingredients (remember this Super Bowl commercial?), and even though their guac is my No. 1 reason for going in the first place, I decided to stay in line and order my salad sans avocado.


Customer service that’s authentic is sometimes as effortless as taping a sign to the glass.

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