Chipotle To Share Outbreak Details, Offer Super Bowl Discount

Plus, Small Rival Tries To Capitalize With Discount on Mexican-Inspired Fare During Chipotle's Closure

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Chipotle Catering Web Site
Chipotle Catering Web Site Credit: Chipotle

Chipotle Mexican Grill on Tuesday gave more details about its Feb. 8 company-wide meeting, including that it plans to share information on what may have caused some of its customers to become ill last year.

Before that meeting takes place, the company is offering a $50 discount on catering orders in a move tied to the Super Bowl. The company, which has seen sales plummet in the wake of food safety issues, is offering $50 discounts on the first 1,500 catering or "Burritos by the Box" orders for 20 or more for Feb. 7. The Big Game offer also includes a limited-edition gift from the maker of Tabasco, according to Chipotle's web site. It is the first time the company has offered this catering discount package.

Chipotle had previously said that it planned to shut stores for a few hours on Feb. 8 for its meeting and that its future communications with diners could include discounts. On Tuesday, Founder, Chairman and Co-CEO Steve Ells said in a statement that the company's new standards implemented with its suppliers "make the food coming into our restaurants safer than ever before."

Chipotle is also offering paid sick leave, "helping to ensure that ill employees have no incentive to work while ill."

Meanwhile, a much-smaller chain is trying to capitalize on its rival's woes. On Tuesday, Freshii said it would offer a 50% discount on Mexican-inspired fare on Feb. 8, the day Chipotle is shutting down for a period of time for its company event.

Chipotle is closing its restaurants for lunch on Feb. 8 in order to broadcast the meeting, being held in Denver, to hundreds of its locations across the United States. The restaurants are set to reopen at 3 p.m.

"Food Safety is Important, and so is Eating Healthy Mexican Food," Freshii said in a press release issued Tuesday. Freshii said it would offer its discount at 200 participating locations "to help American consumers through these dark hours."

"Like millions of other people, we at Freshii are big fans of Chipotle," Founder and CEO Matthew Corrin said in a statement. "We figured the least we would do was look after their customers while Chipotle pauses to recalibrate."

It's the not the first time Mr. Corrin's company has used a much-bigger restaurant chain's issues to try to gain attention. In 2015, he issued an open letter to McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook, in an attempt to get the fast food giant to add a Freshii to one of its U.S. locations to highlight healthy fare.

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