Chipotle bounces back with rapid shifts in strategy during COVID-19

Chipotle, the quick-service restaurant chain, is aiming to adapt its marketing at speed as it responds to the evolving COVID-19 crisis.

In late April 2020, Chipotle Mexican Grill had a bad-news/good-news double whammy that, at the end of 24 hours, saw its after-hours trading rise by 6%.

The initial slap was not unexpected: The Newport Beach, California-based quick-service restaurant chain agreed to pay a $25-million fine to resolve federal charges that it had served tainted food which led to adverse effects in more than 1,100 US consumers between 2015 and 2018.

Later that same day, however, Brian Niccol,Chipotle’s chairman/CEO – and a marketer by training – delivered a powerful message of performance in a more recent, and much more pervasive,...

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