The news has been really bad for Chipole over the last 6 months or so: food safety issues, a 26% decline in sales, and then safety measures which killed the taste of the food. I’ve been a HUGE Chipotle fan for a very long time. On average I ate Chipotle 3-5 times a week for a long period of time spending thousands of dollars on Chipotle every year.
I virtually stopped eating Chipotle almost a year ago long before the crisis. My local Chipotle in Wayne, PA was so bad, I just stopped going. Every time I went there it was dirty, and ingredients were always missing due to bad employees and non-existent management. If you look at Yelp reviews for Chipotle locations they will tend to have 2-3 stars on average, and this was long before the outbreaks. 5 years ago, your typical Chipotle location would have a 4-5 star review average.
Chipotle has a customer experience problem. If I had to identify a root cause, their employee quality has gone way downhill, and management oversight has become very lax. 10 years ago your average Chipotle employee was a much higher quality employee than a typical fast food joint. Over the last five years, the employee quality has drifted into fast food territory and that is what ultimately led to poor sales and probably the multiple outbreaks too because the onsite hand prep of food at Chipotle necessitates a higher quality employee.