Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) has had it rough (not to mention some of its more unfortunate patrons). There is clearly market fatigue over food-safety scandals with their retail outlets. After a spate of issues in the last couple years that severely damaged their reputation Chipotle went through some significant practice changes to try to ensure a cleaner, more consistent and safer food supply chain from sourcing to preparation. After years of emphasizing local prep in their business model they started to move toward the more traditional central kitchen model embraced across the fast food industry, and sought a best-in-class approach to food safety practices.
But, this blog is not about the cleanliness of the supply chain, locally sourced ingredients, or some of the other more obvious ESG issues that could be raised about a fast food chain. In fact, Chipotle stands up fairly well on many of these metrics. This is about the human capital. And this is not only about CMG.