Although the cause still remains a mystery, Chipotle’s E. coli outbreak has been declared officially over by the CDC. But just what does an unexplained, months-long food poisoning outbreak do to the line of customers waiting at your counter?


The company’s new numbers are out, and from the beginning of last October to the end of the year, Chipotle’s total net income dropped 44 percent and its sales fell 15 percent. If these numbers don’t seem particularly strong to you, compare it with the same timeframe last year, when the company’s revenue rose almost 10 percent and sales and net income were both on a small but steady uptick.

But sales and percentages don’t really paint the picture. You know what does? Millions and millions of uneaten burritos. The difference in overall net income between the two periods came to $53,300,000 in lost sales. While it’s unclear just how many individual customers left during that time, we calculated out that cost in terms of some different Chipotle orders. The loss is equal to:


  • 5,640,211 barbacoa burritos with guacamole
  • 4,315,789 chicken salad bowls, with a side of guacamole and chips—plus an apple juice
  • 12,541,176 children’s quesadilla meals with chips and milk on the side
  • 5,004,694 crispy corn steak tacos (with extra steak)

So, now that the outbreak is over, what’s next? It’s unclear. Memories of food-poisoning can be extremely short—and quickly replaced when a new outbreak pops into the news. But with the cause of this one still unknown, Chipotle’s E.coli nightmare could be harder to shake from memory than most.

Follow the author @misra.


Top image: Steve Dykes / Getty images