Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) Hires Food Safety Specialists After E. Coli Debacle

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Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) is trying anything it can to rebuild its reputation in the fast food business. Last year the company paid a steep price as the E.coli outbreak scared customers, significantly hurting sales. Looking into the future, the burrito giant has confirmed the hiring of David Acheson and David Theno, tasked with guarding against similar food scares in the future.

Food Safety Specialists Hiring Spree

The new hires underline the lengths Chipotle is willing to go as it seeks to bolster customer traffic in its outlets. The hiring of Theno is of great significance given that he is a well-respected food safety consultant. A former Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ:JACK) executive, the consultant is accredited with fixing similar E-coli outbreaks in the 1990’s.

The hiring of Acheson however, comes as a surprise as he was initially critical of the company’s reaction to the outbreak. His hiring hints at the possibility of Chipotle expanding its reforms especially when it comes to handling such food scares.

The two food safety experts join James Marsden, a meat science professor hired last year to oversee food safety programs. The wave of hiring is part of an effort that seeks to streamline the company’s operations more so when it comes to handling products subject to disease outbreaks.

Winning Back Customers

Chipotle is trying to pick itself up from one of the largest food scares in the industry that saw it shed about $6 billion in market value in the wake of the E. coli outbreak. Its ability to win back customers amidst stiff competition in the industry is dependent on how well it will avert customer’s fears over food safety.

Winning back customers is critical for the food outlet to revive sales. Director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia Michael Doyle expects the fast food giant to pay more attention to preventive control measures rather than food testing going forward. Chipotle has already severed ties with some suppliers as part of the ongoing control measures.

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