The Cost Of Chipotle’s E. Coli Outbreak, Measured In Burritos

The Cost Of Chipotle’s E. Coli Outbreak, Measured In Burritos

Although the cause still remains a mystery, Chipotle’s E. coli outbreak has been declared officially over by the CDC. But just what does an unexplained, months- long food-poisoning outbreak do to the line of customers waiting at your counter?

The company’s new numbers are out, and from the beginning last October to the end of the year, Chipotle’s total net income dropped 44-per cent and its sales fell 15-per cent. If these numbers don’t seem particularly strong to you, compare it with the same timeframe last year, when its revenue rose almost 10-per cent and sales and net income were both on a small but steady uptick.

But sales and percentages don’t really paint the picture. You know what does? Millions and millions of unsold burritos. The difference in overall net income between the two periods came to $US53,300,000 ($75,506,805) in lost sales. Calculated out that sum is equivalent to:

  • 5,640,211 barbacoa burritos with guacamole
  • 4,315,789 chicken salad bowls, with a side of guacamole and chips — plus an apple juice
  • 12,541,176 children’s quesadilla meals with chips and milk on the side
  • 5,004,694 crispy corn steak tacos (with extra streak)

So, now that the outbreak is over, what’s next? It’s unclear. Memories of food-poisoning can be extremely short — and quickly replaced when a new outbreak pops into the news. But with the cause of this one still unknown, this one could still end up being a little harder to shake from memory than most.

Top image: Steve Dykes / Getty images