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US-based fast casual operator Chipotle is under fire for food safety concerns as of late following outbreaks of E. Coli and norovirus linked to tainted food. Food safety scares usually follow a predictable pattern, but Chipotle has yet to identify exactly how and why their food supply was tainted. Its entirely possible that Chipotle has become too large to support its commitment to local sourcing and a fragmented supply chain. The company has built its entire identity around being ethical and healthy which is all the more reason the outbreaks may have larger effects on the business. In fact, Chipotle may have identified a weakness in its own business model – what consumers want in a fast-casual restaurant is incredibly difficult to achieve, and the chain may well have reached the point where they can no longer be both the biggest and safest and most local.
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