Chipotle made another effort Wednesday to assure its customers that the food safety issues responsible for the fast-casual brand’s recent troubles are a thing of the past. A video posted on Chipotle’s site features CEO/founder Steve Ells touting their recent improvements, which include increased transparency and traceability throughout the company’s supply chain, as well as better farming practices and more attention paid to restaurant inspections and handling practices. The ability to isolate and remove unsafe food from the supply chain is a goal for Chipotle’s improved tracking system.
This issue reached public conscious in November when 42 Chipotle locations in the Pacific Northwest briefly shut down following an outbreak of E. coli. It began earlier, in July, when five customers got sick with E. coli after eating at a Seattle unit.
“In 2015, we failed to live up to our own food safety standards, and in so doing, we let our customers down. At that time I made a promise to all of our customers that we would elevate our food safety program,” Ells says in the video.
This is the latest attempt from Chipotle to reverse its downward trajectory. Shares have fallen 45 percent in the last year. In July, when the company posted its quarterly earnings update, profits were down 82 percent from the previous summer. Despite the challenges Chipotle continues to grow and plans to open 200 new restaurants this year.