NEW YORK– Chipotle shuttered its restaurants to customers on Monday, but opened its company-wide food safety meeting to anyone with a Twitter account.
Chipotle Mexican Grill started tweeting the Denver meeting at its 11 a.m. ET kickoff to its 730,000 Twitter followers under the hash tag #ChipotleAllTeam.
Chipotle workers around the country could monitor the meeting through Periscope and Twitter.
The company was shutting down all its fast food restaurants for four hours, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., as 50,000 employees tuned into an all-hands meeting. The purpose is to prevent a return of the E. coli outbreak that sickened some 500 customers last year.
“We’ve come together today to make sure Chipotle is not just the most delicious place to eat, but also the safest,” said co-CEO Monty Moran, according to the tweets. “We worked with experts who helped us create the most effective food safety program possible.”
The company announced a Local Grower initiative that would invest $10 million into improving food safety at the small farms that supply its food.
Because of stricter standards, Ells said, “It may be difficult for some of our small suppliers to meet our new safety standards.”
The company reiterated some of its previously announced measures, such as high resolution testing of ingredients on farms and in kitchens and blanching of vegetables to kill germs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on February 1 that the outbreak that started in July “appears to be over.” But the restaurant chain has a lot of work to do to restore customer faith its beloved burritos.
Profits plunged 44% in the fourth quarter compared to the year before. Some of the sickened diners have sued Chipotle. The U.S. Justice Department is investigating the company for possible criminal activity.