More than 2,000 Chipotle restaurants around the country closed their doors on Monday. The restaurant management held "food safety" meetings with employees in the aftermath of salmonella and e-coli outbreaks that ran customers away.
More than 500 customers have taken ill since July, and the company's stock plummeted to record lows after a series of E. coli and salmonella outbreaks plagued Chipotle.
“People will come back,” said Steve Ells, Chipotle's founder and co-chief executive. Ells spoke to the company's 50,000 employees from Chipotle’s Denver headquarters via closed circuit video.
Chipotle and investigators traced the outbreaks to sickened Chipotle restaurants staff who neglected to wash their hands before preparing food.
In the meeting Ells promised to fund a $10 million program to put stricter food safety systems in place.
“That means even the ingredients they sell to other companies will be safe — and that’s good for everybody, not just Chipotle,” Mr. Ells said.
But some critics don't believe Chipotle is doing enough.
“It’s going to take significant meaningful action that goes beyond telling employees to be more careful and, unfortunately, some time before consumers start to believe it,” said Allen Adamson, a marketing consultant.