In its ongoing quest to regain consumer trust following a series of health scares, Chipotle plans to close all of its stores for a few hours on Feb. 8 to discuss food safety with its employees.
The goal of the company-wide meeting is reportedly to ensure that everyone on staff is up to speed on what’s been happening at Chipotle for the last several months. “We want to thank our teams for all of their hard work, to discuss some of the changes we are making to enhance food safety, to talk about the restaurants’ role in all of that, and to answer questions from employees,” Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold told the Oregonian.
To quickly recap: At the end of October, health officials began investigating reports of E. coli linked to Chipotle’s restaurants. By mid-November, the outbreak had spread to more than 50 people across nine states. To make matters worse, a norovirus outbreak that sickened more than 140 college students was traced to a Boston area Chipotle the following month.
At an investor conference earlier this week, Chipotle executives detailed some of their plans for winning customers back. The company is going to invest in traditional advertising and direct mail, give away more free food, and keep humility as “an undertone.” They admitted that a full recovery likely won’t come in 2016, but that they could get things straightened out for a strong 2017.
In the meantime, mark your calendars for not necessarily being able to get a burrito at Chipotle on Feb. 8. Though if you were a contributor to Chipotle’s projected 14.6% same-store sales drop in the fourth quarter, odds are you don’t want one anyway.