Chipotle Mexican Grill makes sick employees call a nurse — to prove they’re not just hungover, the company’s CEO has revealed.
“We have nurses on call, so that if you say, ‘Hey, I’ve been sick,’ you get the call into the nurse,” CEO Brian Niccol told a conference on Wednesday, according to Business Insider.
“The nurse validates that it’s not a hangover — you’re really sick — and then we pay for the day off to get healthy again.”
Niccol justified the calls as part of the Mexican restaurant chain’s strict new safety practices following a series of health scares, including a norovirus outbreak among customers in Virginia in 2017 caused by just one sick employee coming to work.
“We have a very different food-safety culture than we did two years ago, OK?” Niccol told the conference, according to the report.
“Nobody gets to the back of the restaurant without going through a wellness check.”
He said the chain has to “hold ourselves to a higher standard to make sure that the dining room gets sanitized in a way that it hasn’t been in the past,” according to the report.
“We’ve got cleaner that actually kills norovirus when you clean the tables in the dining room,” Niccol said of one improvement.
Kerry Bridges, Chipotle’s Vice President of Food Safety, said Thursday that food safety is “part of our culture” with “industry-leading initiatives” to improve standards.
“Like other food establishments, Chipotle has partnered with Zero Hour Health since 2008 to provide trained healthcare professionals who consult with employees who may feel ill,” she said of her CEO’s comments.
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