Chipotle’s E. Coli Outbreak

The public relations world has been getting a lot of work opportunities in the past month or so. Incidents involving different industries that need to help of public relations professionals have been in high demand. Incidents involving health and food related situations tend to be taken the most seriously because they affect you directly. When food chains especially have health related incidents that make a customer sick or ultimately die is among some of the worst scenarios because a chain means there are more restaurants that are probably experiencing the same problem. That means more people affected and more trust lost. Today’s big incident that has been infiltrating our news and airwaves would have to be the popular food chain Chipotle and e coli being found in their beef.

So far, thirty-seven people have experienced illness from exposure to E.coli that has been traced back to Chipotle restaurants (Associated Press, NBC. 2015). Although this number might not seem significant compared to the amount of people that consume food from this restaurant, a bad word can go very far and efforts have to be implemented immediately. The popular chain sells Mexican food and is known for their fresh burritos, tacos and salads. Even though no deaths have been reported yet, aggressive efforts are being implemented to clear the name of the restaurant chain.

The company is doing a great job, or as good of a job as they can right now, to stop this outbreak and clear the name before a wildfire occurs. The company has closed 43 of their restaurants in the states of Oregon and Washington in efforts to contain the outbreak (Bradley, 2015). Closing the doors of these restaurants have shown how serious they are about conserving the health of their customers and putting their health above their possible profit. This is a good start for the company so that the general public can understand the severity of the situation and know that their values are intact. The reputation of this restaurant has been tampered with and this is where public relations professionals will come in and save the day, yet again.

In this particular case, a public relations firm has probably already been contacted to clean this mess of a situation and plans have probably already been set to be put in motion. The reputation of this brand needs redemption by first, gaining the trust of their customers and accessing their team to make sure that nothing like this happens again. Getting to the affected customers and making sure they are being treated properly would be a great effort, since they are the ones who were directly affected by the E. coli. After they gain the trust by those who became sick, addressing the general public and letting them know what will be implemented to move forward in what has already occurred. Chipotle has a long way to go, but they are off to a good start in making the best of this horrible situation.

Bradley, D. (2015, November 4). Chipotle outlines 7 ways it’s ‘aggressively’ addressing E. coli outbreak. In PR Week. Retrieved from

Jargon, J. (2015, Nov 03). E. coli strain in outbreak linked to chipotle not most severe, authorities say; number of people sickened in oregon, washington rises, as officials work to determine exact source of contamination. Wall Street Journal (Online) Retrieved from

What’s Being Done to Stop the Chipotle E. coli Outbreak? (2015, November 4). In NBC News. Retrieved from


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