Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG) has a history of food poisonings that have driven its earnings and stock price down. In the midst of a recovery from the problems, the fast-food chain faces a new one. “Supergirl” star Jeremy Jordan says he had to go to the hospital after eating at one of the chain’s locations.
The trouble was first reported by People magazine.
Chipotle management issued a statement:
We are sorry to hear that Jeremy is sick and have attempted to get in touch with him directly regarding where and when he ate so we can look into this. We take all claims seriously, but at this time we can’t confirm any link to Chipotle. We are always committed to making things right for our guests and will do the same for Jeremy when we are able to reach him.
The statement is fair enough. Jordan may have had the flu or eaten something somewhere else and became sick. Chipotle may not be involved at all
The news shows have a major fiasco at a company can linger. If Jordan had gotten sick at any other food chain, the event would be considered a minor problem and would not have been picked up by the media. But Chipotle had a norovirus outbreak in 2008 at one of its locations. It had an E. coli outbreak outbreak in 2015 at one of its stores. This was followed by a much more widely covered norovirus outbreak later the same year, then cases of salmonella poisoning and E. coli just before the end of 2015.
Chipotle hired someone to oversee food safety. This did not prevent two more outbreaks of food poisoning.
Unlucky investors who hold the shares have watched them plunge 48% in the past two years to $279, while the S&P 500 is up 24%.
The Jordan claim may come and go mostly unnoticed. In Chipotle’s case that is unlikely. Its past problems will trigger more coverage of the story, whether it is true or not.