The Motley Fool writes that Chipotle Mexican Grill’s (NYSE:CMG) food safety crisis has been over for six months. But you wouldn’t know it from the company’s sales results. During the recently ended second quarter, Chipotle’s comparable restaurant sales plunged 23.6%.
The company can probably blame social media for its slow recovery. The rapid spread of information — and in some cases, misinformation — via social media has made Chipotle’s late 2015 E. coli outbreak much worse for the company than it otherwise would have been.
Social media increased awareness of Chipotle’s food safety problems in the first place, and Chipotle’s food safety issues continued to be the butt of jokes on social media long after the initial outbreak.
In my case, Chipotle was the brunt of social media jokes and taunting going back to 2007.
The lesson for executives in the restaurant industry is clear: The right time to address food safety weaknesses is now. Waiting for food safety lapses to make customers sick is a recipe for disaster.
Linda Ronstadt’s version might be more popular, but the original, by songwriter Warren Zevon, is darker and more apt.
Except with the Springsteen bit. Never a fan.