Revised Group 2 Chipotle .docx - Running head CHIPOTLE FOOD...

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Running head: CHIPOTLE: FOOD WITH INTEGRITY? Chipotle: Food with Integrity? BUS-J401 Administrative Policy Jacob Trapp, Sundeep Uppal, Vivian Pierson, and Britney Ratermann Indiana University East
2 CHIPOTLE: FOOD WITH INTEGRITY? Chipotle In 1993 Steve Ells opened up the first Chipotle restaurant with the goal of bringing fresh and healthy ingredients into a normally artificial food industry (Chipotle, 2018). Choosing the motto of “Food with Integrity,” (Chipotle, 2018) Chipotle quickly grew its one restaurant into more than 2,000 worldwide locations. With Chipotle rapidly growing and its brand gaining popularity, it was a huge revelation in 2015 when a multi-state E. coli outbreak was linked to the company. During this outbreak, a total of 21 people were hospitalized, and over 500 were infected across nine states (Filloon, 2016). This outbreak had a huge impact to Chipotle’s business as its food preparation practices had to be rehabilitated, its supplier practices needed to be readdressed, and its customer base had to be convinced that Chipotle was once again safe to eat. The executives at Chipotle needed to reassess its business model and ensure that the company was getting back on track. While it was a staple for growth and profits, Chipotle’s stock dropped 45% within the year following the outbreak (Gillespie & Long, 2016). Investigating the Outbreak The case of identifying the cause of the outbreak was not as cut and dry as many had hoped it would be. Though there was much research and investigating done at the contaminated Chipotle locations, there were no consistent findings throughout those locations that pointed to a specific cause of the outbreak. Since there was never a definitive answer to the cause of the outbreak, there has been much speculation that it may have been due to factors such as unsanitary conditions of the Chipotle stores, improper storage and handling of food items, and/or contaminated food items sold to Chipotle from their suppliers (FDA, 2016).
3 CHIPOTLE: FOOD WITH INTEGRITY? In some locations, inspectors did find that some foods were not being kept at the correct temperatures, but this still did not answer why there were problems at the other locations (Little, 2015). Storing foods at inadequate temperatures can cause bacteria to grow on the food and then spread. Among the foods that were found to be stored improperly at some of the Chipotle stores was chicken, which is a common food item in which E. coli spreads. This issue was definitely one for Chipotle to recognize and address, but not all of the stores involved in the outbreak were found to have this issue and improper food storage was not found to be the culprit of this outbreak. Being that multiple locations did not have food storage issues, but were still linked to the outbreak, an issue from a supplier became the more likely culprit. With the food chain priding itself with offering high quality, fresh, and organic foods, most of the ingredients are locally sourced. Although this tactic fits Chipotle’s motto and business model, many of these food

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