Thursday, April 27, 2017

At Chipotle Mexican Grill, it's a good news/bad news week

The Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant chain was turned upside down during this strange week of mixed messages.

Bouncing back financially from health-related scares at several clusters of Chipotle units, the chain on Wednesday announced its first quarter sales were its best quarterly result since the fall of 2015 when the first reports of en E. coli outbreak surfaced, a problem that carried over into last year. Its efforts to change some of its food sourcing, upgraded menu items and fresher ingredients plus a vigorous advertising campaign helped bring it back financially.

However, now it has been forced to reveal that its payment system has been hacked.

Jack Hartung, the chain's chief financial officer, told Wall Street analysts during an investor presentation, "We want to make our customers and investors aware we recently detected unauthorized activity on a network that supports payment processing for purchases made in our restaurants."

He said that Chipotle has put in place new security measures it believes stopped the unauthorized activity, which the chain estimates occurred between March 24 and April 18. Chipotle says it is also working with a cyber security firm, law enforcement, and the payment processor to address the matter.

In the Capital Region, Chipotle has locations on Western Avenue in Guilderland; Wolf Road in Colonie; Wade Road at Route 7 in Latham; Balltown Road in Niskayuna; Clifton Park Center, and Route 50 in Saratoga Springs.
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