Today Chipotle (CMG) seemed to see some light at the end of its recently dark tunnel.
The company’s stock price, which has been on a downward plummet, rose 6% today to $428. Investors are restoring a little faith to the health-scare-tarnished retailer. Propelling the shares on Wednesday was an investor call on which Chipotle’s management said they believe the CDC will declare the bacterial outbreak at the chain officially over. The CEO did, however, admit that the health issues will continue to affect their 2016 business.
While investors clearly see the brand as being in trouble, consumers don’t seem to agree. We took to the streets of Manhattan to give away free Chipotle burritos. Of the about 15 people we talked to, all except for one accepted it. Every person admitted to knowing about the health scares, but seemed fairly unconcerned. The E. coli and norovirus outbreaks the brand has suffered from of late did not make these consumers shy away from a free lunch. The main reason many said they weren’t fazed was that the issue is mainly West Coast-based. Even after being informed that cases have sprouted up in Amherst, NY, no one expressed a more serious concern.
One man, who is a self-proclaimed huge fan of Chipotle, said he won’t stop eating at the burrito chain unless he gets sick.
A common thought was that this kind of thing happens, and that sometimes it’s hard to verify cleanliness when multiple food sources are utilized.
The one free-burrito dissenter admitted to not being a frequent customer of Chipotle, but expressed extreme nervousness about getting sick from eating the chain’s food. He said his fear would extend to all food brands, even ones he eats very often.
It’s up to Chipotle to prove that their recent issues are not indicative of their overall quality of food. Otherwise, their loyal customers will begin to doubt the brand, just like investors have done.