Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. responded quickly when four of its workers called in sick last week with suspected cases of norovirus. The Boston-area restaurant was shuttered for cleaning, and no customers got ill.
The company’s management considers that a successful outcome – a sign its updated health protocols are working. But customers, still wary of the chain after a string of outbreaks, didn’t see it that way.
Headlines about the Massachusetts restaurant closing once again sent Chipotle’s sales plunging. And while the company called that sales decrease a “blip” on its road to recovery, the incident illustrates just how difficult it will be for the chain to get its mojo back.
“It’s great that they caught it before anybody got sick, but how could it happen again?” said Christopher Muller, a restaurant and hospitality expert who teaches at Boston University. “They’re caught in a very bad cycle.”