DENVER, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Chipotle Mexican Grill will close its doors nationwide for several hours in February to discuss food safety after dozens of customer illnesses.
Company spokesman Chris Arnold said the Feb. 8 meeting is intended to address a number of issues following Chipotle-linked food poisoning outbreaks in Oregon, Washington, Boston and Kansas.
"We want to thank our teams for all of their hard work, to discuss some of the changes we are making to enhance food safety, to talk about the restaurants role in all of that and to answer questions from employees," he told the Oregonian.
In the coming weeks, the Denver-based company plans to launch a media blitz to woo customers weary of the eatery after hundreds were sickened by norovirus, E. coli and salmonella.
Since the outbreaks that began this past summer, the company has since seen a massive decline in sales. At least nine lawsuits have been filed, including one from investors who claim they were given misleading information about the illnesses. The company is also facing a criminal investigation related to a norovirus outbreak in a Simi Valley, Calif., location that left more than 200 sick.
"We need to reassure our customers that this can't happen again," Co-chief Executive Steve Ells told analysts and investors at a conference in Orlando.