Chipotle closes down 43 restaurants in Washington state and Oregon due to an E. coli outbreak traced to the beef in the restaurants. Illnesses have now been reported in seven more states, including Illinois, Pennsylvania and Maryland.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 14 were hospitalized and 50 more who were sicken.
Chipotle expects to spend at least between $6 million to $8 million to replace their food, send samples for analysis, and test restaurants. The estimates do not include the legal costs that are soon to be faced.
Chipotle is suffering through the results of this serious outbreak, and stated the November comparable sales has dropped 16 percent, and if the trends continue, sales can drop from eight to 11 percent this quarter.
“As a restaurant company, nothing is more important to us than serving our guests food that is delicious and safe to eat,” Chipotle said. “Since this incident began, we have significantly increased our efforts to ensure that our teams are adhering to all of our food safety protocols.” Chipotle’s founder and co-CEO, Steven Ells apologizes for the E. coli outbreak linked to the restaurants, and states that the company’s restaurants are now performing above the industry’s health standards.
By Susan Lam