Chipotle CEO Admits Half of His Restaurants Only Get a ‘C’ Grade or Lower

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CEO Steve Ells said at a recent conference that most Chipotle stores aren’t run well enough to allow the brand to bounce back

This doesn’t exactly bode well for the struggling fast-casual chain. 

Chipotle’s troubles may be far from over. At a recent conference at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, the once-mighty fast-casual burrito chain’s CEO, Steve Ells, admitted that he would rate half of his restaurants at an A or B, and the rest would receive the equivalent of a “C” or lower. in terms of customer service.

Ells gravely stated he didn’t think many of the restaurants were run well enough to bounce back after the massive E. coli outbreak last year, according to Fortune.

“I’m not satisfied with the rate of recovery and the quality of the restaurant experience,” Ells said. “We are not offering the necessary guest experience.”

Much of the problem lies in the Northeast, Ells said. The Chipotle restaurants with the lowest customer service ratings are concentrated in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. He described seeing short-staffed restaurants with dirty kitchens and slow lines.

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This is all in spite of the fact that Chipotle has completely overhauled its safety guidelines and procedures, often prepping meat and vegetables off-premises to ensure low bacteria risk. Third-quarter sales plummeted 21.9 percent, and numerous promotions and discounts the company has been throwing at customers have further chipped away at profits.