Chipotle reveals its comeback plan

chipotle workers line

Chipotle Mexican Grill plans to mount a multifaceted marketing campaign next month to win back consumers who abandoned the chain because of its food-safety problems, executives revealed at a financial conference today.

In addition to direct mail pieces, newspaper ads and television commercials intended to reassure the public the brand is safe again, the effort calls for doubling the amount of food that stores can give away to spur trial, the officials noted.

Co-CEO Steve Ells said the communication will include a detailed account of what happened at the epicenters of the E.coli and norovirus outbreaks. He commented at the ICR Conference in Orlando, Fla., that the assurances and recounts will be delivered with an undertone of humility.

The plan is predicated on getting word from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the chain’s food-safety problems are truly behind it. The chain is “extremely confident” that validation will come next week, executives revealed, noting that they met with CDC authorities last week.

Ells acknowledged during his presentation at the conference that lingering concerns will likely impact sales through 2016, while increased safety measures will have an effect on margins.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


In Red Lobster, a symbol of the challenges with casual dining

The Bottom Line: Consumers have shifted dining toward convenience or occasions, and that has created havoc for full-service restaurant chains. How can these companies get customers back?


Crumbl may be the next frozen yogurt, or the next Krispy Kreme

The Bottom Line: With word that the chain’s unit volumes took a nosedive last year, its future, and that of its operators, depends on what the brand does next.


4 things we learned in a wild week for restaurant tech

Tech Check: If you blinked, you may have missed three funding rounds, two acquisitions, a “never-before-seen” new product and a bold executive poaching. Let’s get caught up.


More from our partners