From One Crisis To The Next, Chipotle Grows Digital Orders, Loyalty

Above: Scene from recent Chipotle adJust as Chipotle Mexican Grill was finally closing the legal door on its own health crisis dating to 2015, along came COVID-19. If there’s a silver lining for Chipotle within the current pandemic, it’s a huge increase in loyalty members and digital orders in its first fiscal quarter—plus an ongoing payoff from the quick-serve chain’s investments in outdoor Chipotlanes for order pickup. The company has reprioritized its marketing efforts by offering free delivery from March 15 to at least early May. It will partly offset the attendant costs by shifting media spending from live sports to online and streaming platforms. In announcing financial results on Tuesday for the period ended March 31, Chipotle said it reached a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the Department of Justice in which it will pay $25 million for food safety incidents that sickened more than 1,100 people from 2015 to July of 2018.  advertisementadvertisementIn one case that July, approximately 647 people who dined at a Chipotle restaurant in Ohio reported illness related to a pathogen that local health officials traced to inadequate time and temperature controls for lettuce and beans.

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