How much damage can a reputation crisis do? Ask Chipotle

Lots of discussion about how much harm a reputation crisis can cause, long and short term. I’ve written on this quite a bit in the past using a study out of UK which showed that the longer term recovery of the share price was directly related to the perception of the character of the leader or leaders as demonstrated by actions they took.

That is one of the most important things folks in crisis management need to know.

Chipotle is hurting. The gizmodo story makes it painfully clear just how much the e.coli and other food related illnesses have cost them.

I give Chipotle executives mixed marks on the response as much as I have seen. I think they did a lot of things right, including shutting down the entire operation for one day to focus on food safety. But I haven’t really seen the assurances of how their new safety policies will impact how they source food–an issue that I think is at heart of their problems. And they haven’t made the dramatic, eye-catching move that shows, yes, they care, they get it, they’re doing things differently. But, as I’ve said before, its easy to be an armchair quarterback in these things. I’m sure they are doing everything they can and praying for no more bad luck or outbreaks.