Welp, things are not looking good for Chipotle

Just when we thought the worst was over for Chipotle, we learn that the casual-dining chain is in even MORE trouble.

So, Chipotle expected the various issues with E. Coli and the norovirus to dampen business for awhile. But the famous chain has taken an even bigger hit than it had anticipated. Chipotle’s estimate was generous and pessimistic they thought, projecting a fall of 11%  However, the company saw a 15% decrease in sales for the quarter, which ended December 31. And just in December alone, they saw a 30% fall.

But if these projections and sale decreases weren’t enough, Chipotle is also facing some legal trouble. In December, the chain was served with a federal grand jury subpoena in response to the norovirus outbreak in August. And all of this is actually a pretty rare thing to happen.

According to The New York Times, federal authorities, “generally have tended to focus on manufacturers or farmers, rather than restaurants, in investigations of food-borne illnesses.” So, we don’t know if Chipotle is actually what the subpoena is for, or if it’s targeted at the suppliers for Chipotle.

If you don’t recall, 234 people fell ill with the norovirus after eating at the Chipotle franchise in Simi Valley, California. The Chipotle closed after the major illness outbreak, cleaned the facility, and reopened. But it did not inform the proper authorities of what had happened.

The investigation appears to be unrelated to the 43 Chipotle’s closed throughout Washington and Oregon after the major E. Coli outbreak. The illnesses throughout the entire Chipotle scandal were just clocked this December at 514 people total, with the highest counts in California and Boston.

Chipotle seems to be making some changes in food safety, so hopefully they can recover from these blows.

(Image via Shutterstock)