Painful lessons were delivered to several restaurant operations this week—some earned, some completely uncalled for. Chipotle, for instance, learned how tough it is to shake fears its burritos are served with a free side of bacteria, especially when the impression is affirmed by a celebrity claiming to be on his deathbed.
An independent in Ocean City, Md., should take careful notes, since it may be heading down the same waterway after inadvertently poisoning 160 customers.
Meanwhile, another mom and pop was taught how touchy parents can be about their children, even if the darlings have grown into teenaged louts who don’t tip the adults who wait on them away from home. No one was sick, but the operation sure was tired of getting skunked.
Here are the nightmarish details.
Chipotle is no match for ‘Supergirl’
Nearly two years into a painfully slow turnaround, Chipotle faces enough of a challenge from the incontestably real. Yet it had to detour into shadow land this week to contend with another financial nightmare. The company’s stock value plummeted 4% after a young co-star of the TV show “Supergirl” insisted he’d been critically sickened by food from Chipotle, even though his claims could not be substantiated.
Jeremy Jordan told his legions of fans via Instagram that he was almost killed by what he ate at Chipotle. Yet the chain’s investigation found no indications of a contamination, nor any other instances of guests getting sick. Perhaps, it suggested, Jordan was mistaken.
Stock traders either didn’t buy it or figured the public wouldn’t. Expectations of a negative effect on sales hammered down Chipotle’s stock price as the chain tried to protect its food-safety record from being further tarnished.
The actor has yet to backtrack on his allegations.
Was Jordan on the shore by any chance?
Public health officials in Maryland are certain that a food contamination was what sickened 164 patrons of Fager’s Island Restaurant in the coastal town of Ocean City, but they’re not sure exactly what the victims all ate. The restaurant had hosted a beer and oyster festival on the day all 164 had dined there. Yet it was so confident about the safety of its fare that it repeated the event this Saturday.
No one was reported to have gotten sick after the repeat.
All of the victims were afflicted with gastroenteritis. The restaurant has remained open throughout the investigation of the outbreak.
Teaching how to tip
A New Jersey restaurant caught a severe parental scolding this week for allegedly tacking a gratuity onto the checks of teen and tween patrons.
Wayne Hills Diner didn’t confirm to local media that it charges the so-called teen tax as a matter of policy. But the restaurant’s attorney commented that big groups of youngsters were routinely flooding the place, ordering milkshakes or a few other low-ticket items, and then stiffing the servers on a tip.
The kids apparently noticed that a gratuity had been tacked onto their bills—though sometimes not until after they’d left a tip on the adjusted amount.
Parents also visit the restaurant, and their children noticed the adults weren’t hit with the same mandatory tip.
The restaurant has yet to reveal how it intends to proceed.