Just days ago, you may have been one of many New Yorkers who noticed that several Chipotle restaurant locations had closed down for the day. If you're like so many, you may have wondered why. On February 8, Chipotle closed the doors on its restaurants not just in our state but across the entire nation in response to series of E. coli and Salmonella outbreaks that have plagued the franchise in the last couple of months. That day, more than 1,900 restaurants took part in the voluntary shutdown.
As you may or may not know, Chipotle used the "day of rest" to address concerns about food safety and discuss changes that would ultimately improve customer experience. But while some on social media mock the Mexican food franchise for what has happened, the company's move on February 8 may have saved it money in the long run.
As a recent CNN Money article explains, Chipotle is already facing litigation for the harm the outbreaks have caused customers. The company is also facing serious litigation brought by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Office of Criminal Investigations who served the company with a subpoena in December 2015. By shutting down stores and quickly addressing the problem, Chipotle may have stopped future lawsuits that could not only have damaged the company's reputation but its stocks as well.
Though many restaurant owners try their best to protect customers from contracting food borne illnesses by implementing strict food safety standards, mistakes can happen as the recent outbreaks at Chipotle restaurants show. But by taking quick action and properly addressing civil litigation, restaurant owners can potentially avoid future allegations of negligence, which can be grounds for further litigation down the road.
Sources: CNN Money, "Chipotle to close all restaurants on Feb. 8 for food safety meeting," Aaron Smith and Ahiza Garcia, Jan. 15, 2016
CNN Money, "Chipotle sued by customer who says she got E. coli," Aaron Smith, Nov. 4, 2015
CNN Money, "Chipotle subpoenaed over norovirus outbreak," Ahiza Garcia, Jan. 15, 2016