OPR president Patrick O’Reilly is a Riverside, California, public relations professional with varied experience in corporate communications and crisis management. Since 2001, Patrick O’Reilly has led the Riverside-based firm to develop public relations strategies for organizations in a variety of sectors ranging from higher education to food production.
Popular fast-casual restaurant Chipotle Mexican Grill recently experienced declining sales and negative press following an outbreak of E. coli and norovirus that affected customers across the United States, and its efforts in the wake of this incident provide an admirable example of a focused PR strategy developed to manage a corporate crisis. Chipotle is confident that it will overcome this roadblock with a combination of food safety improvements and consumer trust. According to founder and co-CEO Steve Ells, the company will implement new practices, such as pre-chopping tomatoes before they reach the restaurants and bolstering produce testing methods, to greatly reduce the possibility of any future health concerns.
Chipotle will also implement a multifaceted marketing strategy to communicate to customers that the restaurant is a safe place to eat. This will include detailed correspondence explaining the incident, as well as coupons to welcome customers back, all underscored by a tone of humility.