Chipotle built its once unassailable name on being a delicious, healthy swift food alternative. Then the brand took a hit when a number of food-borne illness outbreaks were linked to its restaurants. (Chipotle’s sales and stock got slammed.) Ironically, a brand that wasn’t known for its health consciousness might have been able to bounce back better — but Chipotle has had a hard time reclaiming its place in the fast food/casual dining hierarchy. If you’re known for providing healthy meals and people get sick eating your burritos, that’s a tough PR challenge — even after you’ve fixed the problem.
Now comes unadulterated good news for Chipotle — outside evidence that it still deserves its reputation as a healthy choice for American diners. A new report called Chain Reaction II, a joint study undertaken by six non-profit organizations, put Chipotle at the very top of its ratings for “Antibiotics Policies and Practices” — in other words, for what’s in the meat you eat. Only Panera Breads received an equally high “A” rating among the 25 consumer restaurant brands the study examined. And it’s not as if the study was a soft touch: 16 of the 25 received “F” ratings. Now Chipotle must work to get the healthy, happy word out to spooked former customers.