At a glance

Chipotle, the quick-service restaurant chain, successfully recovered from a brand crisis that threatened to undermine many of its foundational principles.

Why it matters

Brands are under greater pressure than ever from issues such as data leaks and must also meet new standards for transparency. News of any failures can spread quickly and take considerable time to remedy.


  • Chipotle undertook a holistic transformation in response to its brand crisis, with changes running throughout its marketing organization.
  • Returning to its brand fundamentals, and placing an emphasis on its enduring values, was an important strategy.
  • Shifting money away from coupons and discounts, and into media, was an essential component of its approach.

At the beginning of 2018, Chipotle Mexican Grill – the US-based fast-food restaurant chain with locations in Canada, France, Germany, and the UK – was struggling.