These days it seems that major food-chain Chipotle Mexican Grill is becoming more renowned for its bad press than its tasty burritos. During the past two years, the company has been slammed with PR nightmares, including:
- Several cases of e. coli poisoning among its clientele.
- Reports of chief marketing officer Mark Crumpacker’s multiple charges of cocaine possession.
- Positive tests for noroviruses among its employees.
- Customer service failures including long lines, unkempt dining spaces, poor employee training, and ingredient shortages.
- Departure of Co-CEO Montgomery Moran amid substantial sales drops.
If that wasn’t enough, last December former customer Leah Caldwell filed a lawsuit with the California District Court to the tune of $2.2 billion. Court documents indicate Caldwell is alleging invasion of privacy after learning that Chipotle used her image for marketing purposes despite her refusal to sign release forms agreeing to consent.
The astronomical $2.2 billion requested compensation roughly amounts to Chipotle’s net income from 2006 to 2015.
In a vain attempt gloss over negative feedback and regain its competitive edge, Chipotle lead marketing strategies in 2016 that included discount offers, animated shorts, TV commercials, animated shorts, and a loyalty program. Yet the results were humdrum at best.
Refusing defeat, Chipotle now has a new attitude and a new marketing plan going forward in 2017. The first step: ditching promotion in favor of greater consistency in advertising.
Set to debut in April, Chipotle announced it will embark on its biggest marketing campaign to date. Here’s a brief list on what consumers can expect:
- The introduction of new menu options.
- Greater promotion of digital ordering and catering services.
- More emphasis on ingredients and taste.
- The release of a scripted children’s TV series.
- Stronger dedication to fundraiser involvement.
- Additional TV commercials to boost advertising.