Chipotle Closes all Stores Monday to Hold Food Safety Meeting
Chipotle lovers will have to wait a few hours before they can eat at a location on Monday.
The chain, Chipotle Mexican Grill, has temporarily closed down all stores nationwide to hold a general meeting about food safety practices after several locations were linked to E. coli and norovirus outbreaks over the past few months.
The company said that all locations would be opening at 3 p.m. instead of 11 a.m. in their respective time zones.
The national employee meeting will include roughly 50,000 employees, who will all be required to go to one of more than 400 locations to listen to what the company executives have to say. Not only will Chipotle address food safety practices, which can range from how to handle food properly to how to disinfect work spaces, the company will also detail its goals on winning back its customers and getting sales back up.
Late last year, Chipotle had to close down 43 locations in Oregon and Washington after certain stores were linked to an E. coli outbreak. The outbreak ended up affecting 55 people from 11 states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 21 people were hospitalized and no deaths were reported.
In December, a Chipotle location in Boston was tied to a norovirus outbreak that sickened more than 100 college students.
The CEO of Chipotle, Steve Ellis, had issued a lengthy apology.
"The fact that anyone has become ill eating at Chipotle is completely unacceptable to me and I am deeply sorry. As a result, we are committed to becoming known as the leader in food safety, just as we are known for using the very best ingredients in a fast food setting. ...The last 22 years have been an incredible journey and we are not going to shy away from this new challenge. I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize on behalf of all of us at Chipotle, and to thank our loyal customers who have stood by us through this difficult time."
In January, sales at Chipotle locations that have been opened for at least 13 months fell drastically by 36 percent.
Chipotle will be live tweeting updates here.