151109_chipotle_lgPublic health officials approved Chipotle Mexican Grill in Seattle’s South Lake Union to reopen on Friday. The restaurant was shut down on Thursday after repeated food safety violations including temperature control problems.

Public Health officials said the fast-food chain located at 212 Westlake Ave. N had received red violations on three consecutive visits, including the inspection on Thursday.

Nine other Washington locations received unsatisfactory ratings, including:



Southcenter Mall

Downtown Seattle (two blocks from my office)




Bellevue (two locations)

Violations ranged from improper food cooking times and temperatures, improper food holding temperatures and inadequate hand washing.

Putting this in context – first, you had the Seattle Summer E. coli Outbreak that was never mentioned.  Then it was the Minnesota Salmonella Outbreak and then California Norovirus Outbreak.   And, then it was the E. coli O26 Outbreak, and finally the Boston Norovirus Outbreak.

One would think management would start paying attention and create a culture of food safety.  Chipotle, with a market cap of $17 billion, lost roughly $6 billion in value from October 13 to December 7.  Ouch! When I give talks around the world on “why it is a bad idea to poison your customers,” I now have a new slide to add in for the business reason not to do it.

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