Thursday, June 1, 2017

What's Chipotle's Problem?

I wrote a blog post a few years ago when a Chipotle employee boasted about running over a cat on Facebook.  This post received about 1,000,000 views.  While I am not a cat lover their response to the post revealed something systemic which is still rearing its ugly head.

Specifically Chipotle backed their employees 100% and showed almost no contrition nor discipline of their offending employee.  Forget Social Media flow charts, this was something that struck at the root of the entire corporate culture.  The customer was not always right.  The customer was not even sometimes right.  The customer was wrong.  The customer was on the outside of their circle of trust.  

This again happened when Chipotle employees were calling customer very insulting terms on social media.   Chipotle again defended their employees completely without contrition nor any visible discipline.

This manifested itself several times in the last several years which lead to loss of customers and worth.  All of the e-coli outbreaks could be contaminated food, or they could have been employees not properly washing their hands or following sanitary guidelines.  When the employee is right, it is hard to really see and correct what is causing issues.  

Then it is reported in several outlets that Chipotle gets their customer credit cards info stolen from almost every store.  Again it is a surface issue, like the lack of proper social media practices with the cat issue, but it is also something deeper.  The customer is not valued as highly as the employee.  The employee information wasn't stolen, or it wasn't reported that it was stolen; it was the customer's information that was stolen.  

The remedy for Chipotle is simple.  They forgot the cardinal rule of business, the customer keeps the lights on.  The customer is most important, the customer MUST come first. 

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