As many know, the Chipotle E. Coli outbreak late last year has concerned much of the United States and has been a staple on many news outlets. Even after Chipotle’s decision to voluntarily shut down about 40 locations and re-train employees about food safety regulations, regular customers are still concerned about the incident.
Chipotle has now decided to launch its campaign to give customers free food as an apology. Customers have downloaded about 5.3 million coupons, Fortune magazine reported Wednesday. Though people generally react well to free food, the chain is still suffering greatly from its low customer turnout. People are nervous, and they are just not yet willing to go back into Chipotle with the fear of potentially getting sick again. The company will continue with this campaign in an effort to bring more people back in and prove that its food is just fine. Chipotle is also anxious to prove that it has made substantial efforts to re-train and inform employees so that the food is safe.
Chipotle is not only suffering in the stores but also on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. According to The New York Times, Chipotle’s stock dropped $2.65 Wednesday. Overall this year, the Times reported that Chipotle’s stock has fallen 26 percent, which is a saying something because it was incredibly successful when the stock first went public in 2006. This loss on shares is the company’s first major loss in 10 years.
There is only so much Chipotle can do, to a point. It is making great strides to bring back its customers, but if people are not receptive enough to free food, that’s about as far as it can go. Chipotle cannot force anyone to eat its food, and even if it wants to hand it out on the street, skeptical individuals might take it but then just throw it away.
Chipotle has been the talk among those who eat in fast-food chains for the past year. Whenever an outbreak of this kind occurs, it is inevitable that the reputation of the company will be tainted, and there is high potential that it will never recover.
However, at a point, there is only so much to be said and so much worrying to be done. People are allowed to feel nervous or hesitant, but at a certain point, if you were never the one to get sick, it’s time to give up the worries. Being someone who used to eat in Chipotle and stopped after the E. coli outbreak, I truly understand wanting to be cautious. However, with time and the efforts made by Chipotle, I feel that I have given enough information to feel trust the company’s food.
As my mother always told me, “You can’t live your life in fear.” There will always be something to worry about or something that could be potentially dangerous, but if you don’t allow yourself to be a little bit vulnerable, you will never have a life. It is important to be cautious, but I think it has come to the point where Chipotle has redeemed itself. It has made serious efforts to improve its quality.
It has come time for customers, who were once quite dedicated to the chain, to regain their trust and give in. An issue like this could occur at any restaurant, food chain, supermarket, convenience store, etc. The point is that it is all relative. Had this happened at a Taco Bell or a KFC, people would be up in arms about the situation and boycott the chains until they too figured out a solution to the problem. At a point, however, people must let their guard down and go back to the place they once ate at so frequently. It is easy to say and harder to do, but it is time for the scandal to be put to rest and for people to move on.