Chipotle, everyone's favorite Mexican fast food place, is not going to have a better week after all. Though they recently announced that their battle with E. Coli was over, they are now facing a federal criminal probe into the outbreak of the norovirus in California. The newest subpoena, which was announced today, shows that maybe the case isn't as cut and dry as they had hoped.
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According to Bloomberg Business, the U.S. Attorney's office for the Central District of California delivered the subpoena to the Denver-based company on January 28, 2016. In details that have been reveal, Chipotle is required to produce documents dating back to Jan. 1, 2013.
This just adds insult to injury as the burrito chain also gave a dim view of 2016 in its latest earnings report, saying it would be a “very difficult year.”
There are some valid fears that the company won't be able to bounce back as quickly as they hoped. The latest crisis wiped nearly $10 billion from the market value of Chipotle and raised questions about whether or not they will be able to bring customers back in amid the CDC investigation.
“The company is going to have to incur greater marketing costs to win back customers,” said Asit Sharma, an analyst at the Motley Fool. “And this might be counterproductive while a broader-scale investigation takes place. This puts management in a difficult position as they seek to reset the brand identity in 2016.”
The subpoena goes back to the norovirus case at the Simi Valley location in August. Over 200 customers and employees were sickened.
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Time will likely be the best at telling whether or not the chain will be able to return to its former glory – maybe some free burritos will help.