Chipotle closed for lunch on Monday for a company-wide meeting with employees on food safety after several outbreaks of food-borne illness. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Chipotle took a lunch-and-learn break on Monday. The fast-casual Mexican food chain closed its 1900 U.S. restaurants for four hours to hold a nation-wide meeting on food safety. Chipotle used social media to get its message out beyond its own employees tweeting: " ...food safety changes will not compromise taste or our commitment to Food With Integrity. #ChipotleAllTeam" The company also announced a new local grower initiative on Periscope. CEO Steve Ells: SOUNDBITE: STEVE ELLS, CEO, CHIPOTLE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We're committing up to $10 million to help local growers provide Chipotle with produce and meats that meet our new food safety protocols." Rivals pounced. Several offered discounts to try to lure in Chipotle consumers. Restaurant industry consultant Dave Henkes of Technomic. SOUNDBITE: DAVE HENKES, SENIOR PRINCIPAL, TECHNOMIC (ENGLISH) SAYING: "For every stumble Chipotle has, competitors are looking to take advantage, and, so, players like Moe's Southwest Grill, Freshii's, even On The Border, anyone that is sort of tangentially related or competing for the same dollar are going to try to take advantage of it." The rash of outbreaks of E. coli, salmonella, and norovirus linked to the chain has slammed the company's sales and shares. While the Centers for Disease Control has cleared the E. coli outbreak, Chipotle still faces a federal criminal probe linked to a food safety incident.