Chipotle stores across U.S. closed for lunch, but offered free burrito

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Chipotle restaurants across the U.S. closed from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, so workers could attend a meeting about the chain's recent food safety scares. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Chipotle restaurants across the U.S. closed from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, so workers could attend a meeting about the chain's recent food safety scares.

READ MORE: Chipotle being sued over alleged use of GMO

At least 50,000 Chipotle employees tuned in via satellite at 400 viewing locations, such as movie theaters and hotel conference rooms, to hear from the founder and CEO Steve Ells speak about new efforts to ensure food safety. "I'm very excited to announce this new program today, not only will it help ensure a reliable source of fresh, safe local produce, it'll also help local suppliers be safer in everything that they do," he said.

The meeting comes after Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. saw its sales slammed by food scares, including an E. coli outbreak and norovirus cases.

Last year, 500 customers in 13 states including 234 in Southern California were sickened.

In January, sales plunged 36 percent at stores open at least 13 months.

The chain is committing $10 million to help local growers provide the chain with produce and meats that meet their food safety protocols.

Investors are not exactly embracing the announcement. Shares were down 3.3 percent and closed at $444.

A sign was posted on store doors during closed hours promising a rain check for a free burrito. The offer is no longer available, but click here to find out about future offers.

Click here to read more stories about Chipotle.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Related Topics:
businessfood safetychipotlee. colifoodu.s. & worldhealth
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