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Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.’s 1,971 restaurants in the U.S. were closed for lunch Monday for a companywide meeting that was part update on new food-safety protocols and part rally to prepare for the return of customers. Below is NRN’s coverage around this meeting and unit closures.
Qdoba gets in a dig at Chipotle on Twitter
Update: 3:02 p.m. EST
Qdoba Mexican Eats on Monday gave an open-handed Twitter slap to Chipotle Mexican Grill for its closure and offer of a text “raincheck” to inconvenienced customers. The 661-unit Qdoba, a division of San Diego-based Jack in the Box Inc., tweeted: “Hunger doesn’t accept rain checks.”
Hunger doesn't accept rain checks. pic.twitter.com/RUeZOJXdX2— Qdoba (@qdoba) February 8, 2016
Chipotle alternative offers 'rebound burrito'
Mondays happen to be a good day for Moe’s Southwest Grill to capitalize on Chipotle Mexican Grill’s closure.
With Chipotle closed until 3 p.m. local time on Monday, nearby restaurants were seeing some benefits. Moe’s Southwest Grill, the 600-unit brand owned by Atlanta-based Focus Brands Inc., was touting its “Buy One, Get One” deal to Chipotle customers.
Katy Spaudling, a spokeswoman for Moe’s, called it “the best rebound burrito in the market.”
Chuy Rodarte, general manager of a three-month-old Moe’s in Farmers Branch, Texas, said at 1 p.m. Monday the lunchtime crowd was just starting. “We usually have customers taking advantage of the Buy One, Get One offer,” he said, “and I expect that to pick up a little today.”
Employees react to new procedures
Fast Company was one of the few media outlets allowed into one employee meeting in San Francisco. The website reported Monday that Chipotle officials blamed some of the outbreaks on cross contamination, though the norovirus outbreaks in California and the Boston area were blamed on employees who came to work while sick.
Monty Moran, Chipotle’s co-CEO, told employees at the meeting new protocols require them to notify field leaders immediately if they feel sick or have vomited at home or at work.
If a worker or customer vomits in a restaurant, the location must be shut down immediately. Sick employees are not to return to work until five days after symptoms disappear, and workers will be paid during that time, officials said in the Fast Company report. During the meeting, videos outlined how workers are expected to clean surfaces or wash their hands. Some employees in the audience groaned as video after video described the new procedures, according to the report.