USA-IMMIGRATION/CHIPOTLE

(Reuters)

Chipotle Stores Shut Nationwide for Staff Food-Safety Meeting

Industries Reuters

Chipotle Mexican Grill stores were shut for four hours on Monday for a nationwide all-staff meeting on food safety that was prompted by recent outbreaks of food-borne illnesses linked to the burrito chain.

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The meeting, which started at 11:00 a.m. ET, is being attended by more than 50,000 employees tuned in via satellite in more than 400 viewing locations, including theaters.

Chipotle's co-chief executives, Steve Ells and Montgomery Moran, are hosting the meeting.

Ells said he was deeply sorry that some people became ill after eating at Chipotle. "Committed to make sure it won't happen again," Ells said at the meeting, according to tweets from the company's official twitter handle.

Chipotle's shares and sales have taken a beating over the past few months, hit by outbreaks of E. Coli and norovirus linked to its chain last year.

The E. Coli outbreak sickened over 50 people in 14 states.

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Last week, the chain reported its first decline in quarterly same-store sales as a public company, hurt by a sharp drop in customer visits due to the outbreaks.

The company also said earlier this month it was the subject of a national criminal investigation, related to an outbreak.

Chipotle's shares were down 2.8 percent in afternoon trading on Monday, in line with declines in the broader market.

 

(Reporting by Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)