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The Denver Post reports that Chipotle has settled 97 cases over the past several months that were brought by customers made ill by food they'd eaten at the fast food restaurant. In each of the resolved cases, the story says, the cause and effect were confirmed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), so there was not much room for Chipotle to debate the issue.

The Post says that the financial terms of the settlements were not disclosed, but also reports that one of the plaintiffs asked for "free burrito" Chipotle coupons to be part of the settlement.

William Marler, the lawyer and food safety specialist who represented each of the plaintiffs, tells the Post that "in 25 years of doing foodborne illness cases, I’ve never had a client ask for coupons for the restaurant they had gotten sick at."

Chipotle experienced a variety of food safety problems at a number of its locations last year, forcing it to re-evaluate some of its procedures and sourcing policies, as well as engage in aggressive marketing to bring back previously loyal customers.
KC's View:
It is pretty amazing that someone who got sick enough from Chipotle food to sue the company then turns around and asks for free burritos to be part of the settlement. I've always written here that one of Chipotle's differential advantages has been the extreme loyalty felt by its customers, who believe that the chain speaks to them in terms of relevant food and culture, and this settlements confirms that.

I do think that Chipotle can't play this card too many times, and it cannot afford more food safety problems. Which means it has to go above and beyond regulations and even expectations to make sure their food is safe. There is not a lot of room for error.