The news hasn't been good for Chipotle in recent months, with foodborne illness outbreaks and lawsuits against the company dominating headlines. In fact, things are so bad for the burrito giant, at least one of its suppliers is starting to feel the pain. A Maine paper manufacturer that supplies bowls to Chipotle is laying off 25 to 30 employees, reports the Bangor Daily News.
"Obviously, Chipotle has lost some of its patronage and we think it's a temporary thing," United Steelworkers union representative Duane Lugdon told the Daily News. "We don't see this lasting longer than perhaps four to six weeks — eight weeks at the most — and the folks will be recalled to begin making the Chipotle products again."
Chipotle has been hit with norovirus, salmonella, and E. coli outbreaks in recent months, and lawsuits in multiple states have been filed. The most recent class action suit alleges a restaurant in Simi Valley, Calif., attempted to cover up its norovirus contamination before it alerted consumers and closed. The company faces a criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department over that allegation. As a results of the constant stream of bad press, sales at established restaurants plunged 30 percent in December.
What once was America's favorite fast food chain is now attempting to win back customers after a steep decline in sales. In addition to stricter food safety guidelines and paid sick days for employees, Chipotle is offering a catering discount in conjunction with Super Bowl Sunday. The first 1,500 orders for February 7 will get $50 off their box of burritos or catering spread for 20 people or more.
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