Ohio incident doesn't put Chipotle traffic at risk, says Jefferies
After analyzing digital engagement with the brand from last week and compared to the Virginia incident last July, Jefferies analyst Andy Barish does not believe the illnesses at the Ohio restaurant put Chipotle Mexican Grill's traffic trends at risk. With a free guacamole promotion "coming at a very good time" on the heels of store closure in Ohio, Chipotle app downloads and usage surged, Barish tells investors in a research note. He believes this shows the brand is not damaged as in last July's norovirus outbreak in Sterling, Virginia. Further, the analyst believes Chipotle's procedures were followed in Ohio, the number of cases was not substantiated, and the company did a better job controlling the narrative and taking action. Barish keeps a Buy rating on Chipotle shares with a $550 price target.