Food poisoning outbreaks are fresh in consumers minds, and their anxiety paints a worrying picture for Chipotle.
Analysts at UBS’s “Evidence Lab” looked at roughly 130,000 online reviews of the Mexican chain to see how marketing efforts and grim headlines were affecting customer perceptions, and things aren’t looking good.
“Online review scores showed improvement in the early part of 2017, with scored declining more recently and are now approaching historic lows,” analysts Dennis Geiger and Lauren Silberman write.
“We view deteriorating trends over time as potentially cautionary, raising possible brand perception concerns & larger structural issues,” they added.
Despite an uptick after a wave of sickness outbreaks across the country over the past two years appeared to subside, a fresh norovirus outbreak in Virginia last month sent online review ratings — and the restaurant’s stock — plummeting once again.
UBS also analyzed the frequency of references to “lines” as a proxy…