Investors have had a bit of a roller coaster ride after concerns that the chain restaurant had widespread food safety issues. Over the last few weeks, shares in Chipotle rallied as company executives reassured investors that the chain is poised to make a comeback.
Chipotle management, in a presentation at an investor conference in Orlando on Wednesday, said that the top priorities for Chipotle’s brand this year were to increase food safety and win back the trust of customers who have shunned the once-unstoppable chain when the food safety issues arose.
"We face these difficult times now and need to reassure our customers that this can't happen again, and that we are going to reduce the risk of this kind of outbreak from occurring again to near zero," co-CEO Steve Ells said at the presentation, a recording of which was posted on Chipotle's website.
In late 2015 more than 120 Boston College students contracted norovirus, and there were dozens of reported cases of E. coli across a total of nine states after eating at area Chipotles. The reports caused some restaurant locations to shut down and sales across the nation to slide dramatically, almost 30% in some areas.
The chain also faces a criminal investigation from federal authorities over a norovirus incident at a location in California in August 2015. The outbreaks have resulted in a 42% fall in share price since a high in 2015. Recently, however, shares seem to be bouncing back.
Chipotle markets itself on its use of fresh, local ingredients and has vowed to completely overhaul its food safety standards in the wake of the concerns over the recent health issues.