"Free burritos work," Chief Financial Officer Jack Hartung said at the conference, per the report. "They bring people into the restaurant."
The potential for ramping up these promotions comes after a regulatory filing from Chipotle on Tuesday revealed both continued declines in sales and higher costs dues to extensive new food safety procedures and marketing campaigns, according to a report by the Chicago Tribune. While sales were slightly up from their worst levels back in January, Chipotle said declines at its established restaurants averaged 26.1% in February and took another hit this month after its Billerica, MA outpost was forced to close due to a Norovirus scare, even though no customers became ill after eating there. Chipotle stock closed around $500 per share on Wednesday.
On top of its efforts to boost sales, Chipotle is continuing its new food safety strategy with the hiring of a food safety czar. On Tuesday, the company named Jim Marsden, a former professor in Kansas State University’s Animal Science and Industry Department, as Executive Director of Food Safety at Chipotle. In the filing, Chipotle said Marsden will spearhead its plan to establish the chain "as a leader in food safety." The new hire comes days after a separate regulatory filing revealed Chipotle's top two executives saw their compensation cut by nearly half last year.