Why Is Chipotle Closing Its Restaurants For A Day? Its E.Coli Problems Aren't Over Yet
If Chipotle Mexican Grill is your go-to lunch spot to fulfill your continuous burrito cravings, you'll want to prepare for an upcoming dark day for Tex-Mex food lovers. Chipotle will close every one of its stores for a few hours on Feb. 8, leaving those addicted to its delicious meals without their daily fix. So, why are Chipotle restaurants shutting down for a day?
Although customers will no doubt be upset about the temporary closure, it's for good reason: Chipotle will take a short hiatus for a national meeting of every company employee about its plans to combat the recent E.coli outbreaks. Executives will answer employees' questions about the problem and outline the company's new marketing strategy for recapturing customers scared away by the outbreaks.
The problem began back in October, and 53 cases of E.coli-related illnesses across nine states have been reported since then. In November, a rare strain of E.coli cropped up, making at least five people sick in three states. Because the second, less-common strain might not be related to the larger outbreak, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) isn't combining the two issues.
Chipotle executives said at a conference in Orlando, Florida, on Wednesday that they met with officials from the CDC, which is investigating the outbreaks, last week. "I'm hopeful that the CDC will call this over soon," Chipotle CEO Steve Ells said at the conference, according to CNN Money. "We know that Chipotle is as safe as it's ever been before."
The restaurant chain enhanced its food safety policies after reports surfaced of the illnesses, including high-resolution testing of all fresh produce, end-of-shelf-life testing, and improving its internal training of employees. However, Chipotle has not identified the source of the E.coli outbreaks yet, according to E! Online.
Chipotle’s director of public relations, Chris Arnold, told The New York Time's James Stewart:"If there’s a silver lining in this, it is that by not knowing for sure what the cause is, it’s prompted us to look at every ingredient we use with an eye to improving our practices."
Chipotle hasn't disclosed how many or what specific hours the nationwide chain will shutter its doors, only that it will be on Feb. 8. Brace yourself for a Tex-Mex-less meal on that sad Monday in a few short weeks — as if Mondays weren't hard enough already.