Running head: Chipotle E. coli Outbreak 1
Chipotle E. coli Outbreak 10
Chipotle E. coli Outbreak
University of Maryland University College
Founder Steve Ells’ Chipotle restaurants were plagued with multiple incidents of foodborne illnesses. The chain of events occurred starting in July and spanning through the later months of 2015. The first incident took place in July of 2015 where five people were infected with the O157:H7 strain of E. coli. Health officials stated that this outbreak was an isolated occurrence compared to the much larger outbreaks that occurred later that year. The next outbreak in August 2015 was due to the Norovirus within Simi Valley, California (Flynn, 2015, para.3). Multiple customers fell ill suffering from gastrointestinal problems after eating at a local Chipotle. It was first reported that 98 patrons were affected but internal documents stated that the number was double what was initially reported.
The outbreak in October and November 2015 was the largest outbreak during the crisis, occurring primarily in the western United States and eventually spanning across at least 11 states. Mass hysteria ensued causing Chipotle to close dozens of its locations. A significant number of patients were hospitalized, jeopardizing Chipotle’s reputation and motto, “Food with Integrity”. In December of 2015, a smaller outbreak occurred where 5 people in Kansas, North Dakota and Oklahoma were affected with a rarer strain of E. coli. Health officials went on to declare the crisis over at the end of February 2016 but by then the damage had been done. Chipotle’s profits plummeted during the crisis with sales falling more than 20%, eventually reaching into negative numbers and stock prices began dropping from a high $742 to as low as $413 a share. To begin recovery efforts, Chipotle galvanized its patrons by introducing the free burrito campaign, implementing reward systems and changing culinary practices. This later helped Chipotle increase their sales but to nowhere near where they were before.
Chipotle Mexican Grill is an American fast food chain restaurant. Chipotle has locations in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and France (Chipotle, n.d). Their main menu specializes in Spanish-American cuisines, selling a combination of chips, salsa, tacos and mission-style burritos. Chipotle was created by the founder Steve Ells on July 13, 1993. Steve Ells attended the University of Colorado and later graduated from the Culinary Institute of America (Chipotle, n.d). It was there that Ells received his culinary experience and entrepreneur spirit to start what we now know as Chipotle.
Chipotle revolutionized the way we see and eat at fast food restaurants, becoming the first restaurant to exhibit such transparency when it came to sharing any products that may have had genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Chipotle became well known by its advertisement on...