Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) has had a swarm of negativity around the business and the brand in the last few years. In 2016, Chipotle’s profit plummeted 95% as a result of the health scare, if you had bought CMG five years ago and were to check on the stock performance today, you would be looking at a measly gain of about 1%. Also, according to the USA Today, a malware hack stole customer payment info. Chipotle has tried to give out free food and start loyalty programs (Chiptopia) to win back customers which has not had much success.
Prior to the e-coli outbreak and the food safety concerns Chipotle was averaging 10% same-store sales growth above fast-casual restaurant peers and also continuing to increase menu prices and grow in transaction volumes.
After the 2015 food safety concerns, (the latest reported incident was on December 1, 2015, and on February 1st, 2016, the CDC announced that the E. Coli outbreak is over), Chipotle has taken various actions to regain consumer confidence, improve their food safety (at a cost of 1 – 2% of revenue), and they are now trying to re-invite customers with new menu options including queso. On Monday, July 10th the company also discussed two kinds of frozen margaritas and a salad at their public test kitchen in New York City, the NEXT Kitchen. This has created some buzz on social media which could help to drive prior customers back in their doors. In April of this year they also had started to offer a desert – bunuelos – a flat fried fritter with honey, sugar, and cinnamon with an apple dipping sauce.