E.Coliars: The Truth About Chipotle

In the beginning, Chipotle took the fast-food industry and concept by storm. Founder and former CEO Steve Ells steve_ells_01committed all of his time and effort into ensuring that Chipotle is a wholesome, and environmentally-friendly brand with the mission statement being: “Food with integrity is our commitment to finding the very best ingredients raised with respect for the animals, the environment and the farmers.” During their long and tumultuous 23-year journey, the brand has neglected important aspects in relation to their transparency.

After a history of public health scares following contamination in restaurants, Chipotle finally spilled the beans about their true internal transparency regarding the Sterling, Virginia norovirus outbreak. This  was the first time Chipotle admitted170720163257-chipotle-setback-1024x576 to an employee being the root of the cause, whereas in past instances the company steered clear of giving a direct answer on the root of the contamination. Despite their efforts to maintain transparency externally, a lack of communication as well as protocol enforcement internally have produced some issues. We can see Ells’ efforts to maintain a positive public image by quoting their protocols as “excellent” and “designed by leading experts,” but only if employees follow them.maxresdefault In a nationwide restaurant closure, Steve Ells conducted an employee food safety meeting providing employees an opportunity to ask questions and establish stronger internal bonds. One important message delivered: Employee’s should not be scared to call into work if they are showing any forms of illness.

At the end of the day, Chipotle is still a brand we all know and love. But with the recent string of events, can we really trust the food inside the foil? Are we really being served “food with integrity,” or grub with a side of food poisoning? We hope for Chipotle’s continued success as they continue down this long path of recovery, because who doesn’t lMW-BZ999_CMG_20_20140416162602_MGove a good burrito?

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Tips for Blogging Here

Transparency!  That’s your topic.  Stick to it.  You can focus on good measures of transparency within organizations, and of course, you can feature organizations that have a lack of transparency.

Research and Support:  Sound brilliant.  Support your claims, especially if you are being critical of an organization.  Cite your sources by naming them and linking directly to their information.  If your reader wants to know more, she can quickly access additional information.

Be Interactive:  Include hyperlinks to your sources and other interesting content about your blog topic.  Include hyperlinks early in your blog and often…but don’t overdo it.

Use Images:  Use images to strengthen your content and add interest for your reader, but keep your images relevant.

Be Succinct.  Most experts recommend about 250 words.  Use good judgement.  The length of this blog is an example of suitable length.

Be Conversational:  Write your blog in a conversational tone.  Use second-person voice and speak directly to the reader.  Say “you,” “we,” “us,” etc. to include the reader in your topic.

Invite Conversation:  This is key.  Your blog should include a call to action—the action being for the reader to talk back and continue the conversation.

Write Well.  Need I say more?

There are many resources out there about writing good blogs.   And guess what?  They’re mostly blogs.  Check them out.  If you find a good source, we’ll share it on our Resources pages.


Grading:  Yes, I know you’re concerned about a grade.  Imagine all the headers listed above will form the grading rubric for this assignment.  That’s all there is to it.

Other Instructions:  Check our online course page.  You can find your login information and other instructions there.

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Max Wallace, Jake Rose and Cynthia Soowal

Chipotle is a world renown brand which began to come into the hearts of many in 1993. When Chipotle started they came up with a slogan “Food with Integrity.”  Chipotle presented this slogan as a “show that food served fast didn’t have to be a “fast food” experience. Using high – quality raw ingredients, classic cooking techniques, and distinctive interior design, we brought features from the realm of fine dining to the world of quick – service restaurants.” (Chipotle) From the slogan that Chipotle promoted, this presented a major controversy for the company when hundreds of customers got sick form multiple outbreaks.  The reason this outbreak occurred is because employees were not following the rules and attending work sick.  From this Chipotle chains were affected by the E-coli outbreak, some customers didn’t return and the profits decreased heavily.  Chipotle made the headlines of most News-Papers around the world as well as all over the news. This brought a severe amount of negative publicity to all Chipotle restaurants.

Chipotle had to respond to the world and all their customers about the outbreak. Chipotle claimed to conduct a deep cleaning at all restaurants that were connected to the E -Coli outbreak. Chipotle also replaced ingredients at each restaurant, while changing food preparation procedures and providing all necessary supply chain data to investigators. Additionally, Chipotle said they’re expanding testing of key ingredients, examining all of its food-safety procedures to find any opportunity for improvement with the help of two renowned food safety scientists. The most important procedure was creating surveys of all employees to ensure none of them have had any symptoms of illnesses. This was a major factor into getting Chipotle back to where it was being the main reason for the outbreak was employees illnesses.  CEO Steven Ells stated to the public “We took swift action and made it clear to the entire company that we have a zero-tolerance policy for not following these protocols. Compliance with our procedures is non-negotiable and a condition of their employment.”

The moral of this story is that you never know how sanitary restaurants can be, and you never know if their employees are following proper protocols.  The best thing to do is ask, “How do I know if this restaurant and employees are following health protocols.” Find mutual friends that have eaten at that restaurant and ask for their opinion.  Conduct research on the restaurants and see what their reputation is and how their business is run.  Make sure you are eating at the right place with safe sanitary rules and a properly run system.

Work Cited

  1. https://news.elementum.com/a-recipe-for-profitability-supply-chain-transparency-can-save-dwindling-restaurant-sales
  2. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/282937#
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1zXGWK_knQ
  4. https://youtu.be/zBXAJV82744
  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oJ6cYyr1bQ
  6. http://time.com/money/4938420/people-are-still-avoiding-chipotle-heres-why/
  7. http://money.cnn.com/2017/07/26/news/companies/chipotle-sick/index.html
  8. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/07/18/a-chipotle-restaurant-is-closed-after-yet-another-foodborne-illness-outbreak/
  9. https://www.chipotle.com/food-with-integrity
  10. https://www.chipotle.com/faq
  11. http://www.businessinsider.com/chipotle-ceo-on-what-caused-food-poisoning-outbreak-2017-7
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Adidas – Changing the Game 3-stripes at the Time


Every story has a great beginning. This one started in a small town in Bavaria.

From its creation, Adidas had but one mission – “To provide athletes with the best possible equipment and produce innovative products that make better athletes.” Synonymous with high performance, stellar quality, and trusted by professional athletes and sports enthusiasts all over the world, Adidas is the second largest sportswear manufacturer on the planet.

But how did they do it? Simple. They listened to the athletes, making necessary changes to improve upon their products based on their feedback. Adidas redefined the sporting goods industry and made the best even better.

But it doesn’t end there. By utilizing a unique supply chain approach, Adidas established Workplace Standards, which covers workers health and safety, ensuring environmentally friendly factory operations. Adidas implemented and embraced a policy of full transparency in ethics, sustainability, and labor rights.

This has put a company that was once on the verge of bankruptcy into a world-leading sports brand, renowned for its high standards of labor and product quality.

Adidas has sure earned its stripes for transparency.


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Coca-Cola Blog


Ever looked down at your can of pop and wondered the story behind it? Coca-Cola’s commitment to transparency is apparent through their actions as an organization. Before we look at factors that lead to determining transparency, let’s look at the  background information of this booming soda empire first.

It all started in 1886 when a pharmacist, John S. Pemberton, was playing around with syrups when he came across the iconic formula that is now known and beloved as Coca-Cola. Originally sold at five cents per bottle, the unlikely carbonated drink took off and increased rapidly in popularity. It remains a best selling drink today due to the constant updating that Coca-Cola does to stay relevant. Check out the new smart labels below!


Ever noticed the small QR code on your Coke bottle? That’s Coca-Cola’s new smart label! When you scan the QR code, you can get information about calories and ingredients. It will show the allergy information, the definition of ingredients, and other information like organic certification which is pretty handy when you’re on the go! It’s great to see how transparent Coca-Cola is with what goes into your body when sipping a can.

Screen Shot 2017-12-13 at 10.07.41 PM

Although we think Coca-Cola has many high points in their transparency to the public, there have certainly been hiccups within the organization in the past. Coca-Cola funded scientific studies that were about the lack of correlation between drinking soda and obesity. The results showed that lack of exercise was the real reason for obesity. Better get your jogging shoes on. This study upset many consumers (duh) who had an issue with the amount of money that Coca-Cola put into funding this desired research results.

Who knew so much went into a simple can of Coke?


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Starbucks Transparency


Starbucks is a company that prides itself in being ethical and transparent.

A company that started in the early 1970’s, was a sound breaker for many of the things we see in coffeehouse culture today. Coffeehouse culture was mostly popular in southern parts of Europe, like Italy, in the 1970’s. After CEO Howard Schultz made a visit he realized how special coffeehouse culture was and wanted to bring that to Starbucks and to America. Coffeehouse culture makes people feel welcome, and calm. When you walk into a coffeehouse, you smell the fresh roasted beans, you hear music playing and the baristas are there to help make your experience the best it can be.

Starbucks aims to have their customer experience satisfactory every single time. Part of the way Starbucks achieves customer satisfaction is by giving their employees the resources they need to be successful. Partners (employees) are inspired to become leaders within the Starbucks community. They are motivated to be their personal best and to make a difference in the world.

One way Starbucks inspires their partners to be leaders in the community is by giving them ample amounts of volunteer and service opportunities.


A company that strives to have ethical treatment of their employees, Starbucks also concerns itself with the ethical treatment of the environment.

It is clear that sustainability is important to  Starbucks. Since 2004, they have made many efforts into going green. They have adapted LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building throughout their nationwide franchise.

Also, Starbucks has pledged to produce more environmentally friendly cups that can be easily recyclable, or reusable plastic cups that give customers and incentive when using them.


The Starbucks company continues to push boundaries educate their partners, and support their customers at home and in their communities.



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Bernie Madoff – Monster of Wall Street


Bernie Madoff was dubbed the “Monster of Wall Street” and rightfully so. What did Madoff do to warrant this name? He bilked thousands of people out of billions of dollars in a Ponzi scheme. As one of the founders of NASDAQ, investors were duped into thinking he was under the closest regulatory supervision. Not only was this not the case, no one was really watching Madoff. Preying on wealthy clients with a proclivity for exclusivity, Madoff chose a hedge fund as his weapon of deceit. With a $1 million initial investment requirement and a lock-down period in which money can not be withdrawn, Madoff knew the opportunity to invest in his hedge fund, would supersede his client’s desire for transparency. In addition to the perfect set-up for fraud, Madoff’s deceit went much further as he bamboozled his own sons. Bernie Madoff’s lack of transparency changed the way we invest, look at investing and are allowed to invest. The Post-Madoff Reforms are extensive.

Ponzi Scheme Investor Madoff Appears In Federal Court...NEW YORK - JANUARY 5: Bernard Madoff (C) walks out from Federal Court after a bail hearing in Manhattan January 5, 2009 in New York City. Madoff is accused of running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme through his investment company. Madoff is free on bail and hasnt formally responded to the charges or entered a plea. (Photo by Hiroko Masuike/Getty Images)

Ponzi Scheme Investor Madoff Appears In Federal Court…NEW YORK – JANUARY 5: Bernard Madoff (C) walks out from Federal Court after a bail hearing in Manhattan January 5, 2009 in New York City. Madoff is accused of running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme through his investment company. Madoff is free on bail and hasnt formally responded to the charges or entered a plea. (Photo by Hiroko Masuike/Getty Images)

The moral of this story is that you need to know what to expect when you invest. You must educate yourself on basic investing and use a reputable company. You might ask, “How do I know who is reputable and who is not?” Your best bet is to do your research. Check out the reputation of the company and the broker with whom you want to invest. If you have issues with the investment company, you can file a complaint with the SEC. Be proactive and don’t let a money vampire suck your hard-earned money out of you! Bernie Madoff’s are lurking everywhere!

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Whole Foods, Whole Truth

Whole Foods

       Lots of food stores brag about using “fresh ingredients” and being eco-friendly. Whole Foods is one of those stores. When you walk into any Whole Foods Market, by taking a little time you can explore whether these claims are true.


When you walk inside right from the entrance all the way to the backside refrigerators you see vibrant colors filling the aisles. Assortments of food line the aisles as families and little children search for the items on their grocery lists. Seeing how these families shop together and create healthy habits together was inspiring.

Whole foods pride itself in supporting the local community through actions such as volunteering with different charities and stocking their shelves with products of their “neighbors.” The picture below is just one example.


Local to the Tampa area is Uncle Matt’s Organic Juice from Clermont, Florida.

         Whole foods promote connecting with the community and creating relationships with their customers. The Tampa location has a recycling bin, although that specific location does not have a place to recycle plastic or batteries. Whole Foods employee explained a place where a plastic bag and batteries recycling bin could be could be found. They also have boxes at the store for customers to use if they forgot their reusable bags at home, just as their website says.

Whole Foods, whole truth. We asked a question, we got the answer. Whole Foods defines its self on its values and core strengths, as boldly written on the walls. Whole Foods tells its customers what they want to know, transparency at its finest.


Have you visited your local Whole Foods? Have you seen similar values within the company by shopping there? How has your overall experience been at Whole Foods? Let us know in the comments below!

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How Sketchy is Skechers?

As an Ohioan waitress, Holly Ward bought Skechers Shape Up shoes, in hopes of improving her cardiovascular health and to get toned while busy at work. As she continued to wear her shoes throughout her work day, confident in the brand promise and earnestly upholding company trust, Holly began noticing significant hip and knee pain, and didn’t notice a change in weight. Instead Holly ended up in the doctor’s office, where an MRI showed that both hips, specifically the femoral necks, were fractured.


Holly soon realized that this drastic injury to her body could only be attributed to her purchase and frequent use of Skechers Shape Up shoes. Holly quickly came to find out that her complaint was one of many, and that Skechers would soon find themselves in a shameful scandal resulting in a 40-million-dollar lawsuit; proving them to be an organization lacking in transparency.

As consumers, we carry certain brand loyalties and have faith that our favorite organizations will always maintain an honest relationship with us and tailor to each of our needs. However, in 2012, Skechers faced a lawsuit claiming it made deceptive claims throughout its Shape Up campaign, saying that the shoes helped people lose weight, strengthen and tone their buttocks, legs and abdominal muscles; and endorsed by celebrities such as Kim Kardashian. The “Shape-Up” shoes were not the only shoes to cause similar problems- several of the other brands shoes continued to create significant bodily injuries to customers who traded the shoes in for the gym. The “scientific backing” behind this campaign was focused mostly on the promise of weight loss and toning on multiple muscles.


The Federal Trade Commission ruled that these claims had no “scientific backing”, and that the “chiropractor” used in some of the ads recommending the shoes based off an “independent” clinical study he conducted was married to a Skechers marketing executive, and Skechers also paid for the “independent study”.  Furthermore, Skechers communicates nothing concrete about their policies for environment, carbon emissions or labor conditions in low-wages countries. For consumers, it is unclear whether Skechers is committed to sustainability or not, and whether they are committed to being a transparent organization.



As young professionals, we often face situations where we must choose the method of interpersonal and organizational communication we use both within the organization and outside of it. After learning more of the Skechers story, what do you believe could have been done differently in this situation?

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What in the world is Apple doing?

A kid, little—maybe 9 years old, told me the other day that his friend had his own cell phone.  “What kind?” I asked.  “The best one in the whole wide world,” he replied, “iPhone 7.”

In our lifetime(s) I am not sure any other company has had consumers on the edge of their seats for the next version of the next thing for as long, producing as much of a financial windfall, as Apple has.  Consumers gladly hand over their paychecks, but how much do we actually know about Apple?

apple campus Most of the research, development, and marketing genius goes down on Apple campus in Cupertino California.  The new Apple ring looks more like a mega-church, airport, or UFO than a company headquarters–



jobs and wozniak–and is a far cry from the garage that Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs tinkered in during the 1970’s.


Though Apple was founded in 1976 we all know that the fairy tale took off when Steve Jobs returned to the company he long ago founded, then soon after settled into CEO role. With products from the iMac to the iPad that the two-year-old to ninety-two-year-old now cannot live without—Steve Jobs managed to make sure that the world was fully equipped to continue its ride through the Information Age before he passed away in 2011.

For being revolutionary, it may be humbling, or more like disappointing to watch Apple use the failing bottom-line business model.  Since Jobs return in the late 1990s, Apple has moved manufacturing out of the US, skyrocketing profits, while letting smartphone-bearing netizens report on Foxconn and other Apple contract manufacturing companies on going human rights violations.

Since 2007 Apple has released their Supplier Responsibility Reports, but instead of these being a beacon of true transparency they come across as pretty portraits created by, Apple’s advertising staff?  Just a guess, because you have to dig SO DEEP to find what Apple is not doing well and deeper for any indication that Apple is really working on improvement. When searching for videos or articles on poor working conditions in Apple factories, not much comes up more recently than 2014.  It is hard to say if this is a result of improvement or more corporate secrecy.

It is understandable that Apple needs to protect its trade secrets, but at what cost?  Descriptions of Apple employees are strikingly similar to CIA operatives portrayed in movies who can’t say a word about their secret life to friends or family.  Apple, what exactly do you have new recruits sign when they are hired?  What was that? Ask Legal or the Business Conduct Helpline? I would be so happy for any friend landing a job at Apple, what an opportunity!  After “congrats” though, I might not be able to bite my tongue before throwing in, “don’t drink the Kool-Aid!” -Nicole Mateo; Rachel Morreale; and Susanna Jones


Roberts, Matthew. “Apple Park April 2017 Drone Tour 4K.” YouTube 30 Mar. 2017


Rawlinson, Nik. “History of Apple 1976-2016.” Macworld 1 Apr. 2016


BBC News. “Apple Accused of Failing to Protect Workers.” YouTube.  18 Dec. 2014


2017 Progress Report.” Apple. 2017


Human Robotics – Technology. “Inside Chinese Factories The Truth About Working Conditions

at Foxconn, Apple, HP Factories.” YouTube. 8 Feb. 2017 <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mb0rU8Nq2GI>.

Alltime 10s. “10 Shocking Secrets About Apple.” YouTube. 5 Mar. 2017


Lee, Adriana. “Apple Handbook Shushes Employees From Talking About the Company.”

Technobuffalo. 2 Dec. 2011 <https://www.technobuffalo.com/2011/12/02/apple-handbook-shushes-employees-from-talking-about-the-company/>.


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