Chipotle’s long, E. coli-tainted national nightmare seems to finally be over. For the first time since August 2015, when the burrito chain’s rash of foodborne illnesses began unfolding with alarming speed and severity, shares of Chipotle hit a new all-time high on Monday, peaking at close to $760.
The stock has been climbing since the company poached Brian Niccol, Taco Bell’s CEO, to take over Chipotle last February. Under Niccol, Chipotle has experimented with drive-thru lanes, introduced new menu items, and launched a loyalty rewards program. Per CNN: “revenue soared nearly 14% in the first quarter and sales at restaurants open at least a year were up nearly 10%.” After strong stock growth last year, Chipotle is up 75% in 2019, making it one of the best-performing stocks on the S&P 500 Index.
That’s not to say Chipotle is completely free of all food-safety scares, however. Last summer, more than 400 people reported falling ill after eating at a Chipotle in Ohio — the number later grew to more than 700 — resulting in multiple lawsuits filed against the chain. But it appears consumers’ memories are short, and the lure of burrito bowls is strong. If today’s stock performance is any indication, Chipotle has successfully made its comeback.