Chipotle Mexican Grill is now facing a lawsuit and public backlash following the discovery that the fast-casual chain cooks their pinto beans with bacon and did not disclose this information to consumers.
According to the Consumerist, the pinto bean issue was brought into the spotlight after Seth Porges, a die-hard fan of Chipotle who doesn’t eat pork, discovered that the pinto beans he had consumed for years had been cooked with traces of bacon.
A flurry of tweeting and e-mails ensued.
Within two hours of the initial tweets, Steve Ellis, CEO of Chipotle, made a personal call to Porges apologizing for the policy problem. Porges’ efforts had prompted him to order the entire chain to change their in-stone menus to reflect that pinto beans were cooked with bacon.
Porges has since praised Chipotle for their response.
“Was extremely impressed as Chipotle's quick and personal response," Porges told Consumerist. "Just a model of great PR: attend to the problem, apologize, and create a solution."
However, Chipotle’s problems don’t end there. A vegetarian lawyer has sued the restaurant for the same issue.
The lawsuit, filed by Kevin Shenkman in Los Angeles Superior Court, accuses the national fast food chain of duping the public into believing its pinto beans were vegetarian. Reuters reports that Shenkman "reasonably assumed Defendant's 'Pinto Beans' were not prepared with and did not contain bacon and/or pork since there were no representations made to the contrary."
Shenkman, who is Jewish and vegetarian, sued on “behalf of a class of California customers who, like him, cannot eat pork because of "ethical, religious, moral, cultural, philosophical or health-related" concerns, according to the complaint.”
The lawsuit alleges fraud and false advertising and requests unspecified damages, a corrective advertising campaign and an apology to class members.
Shenkman is also involved in two other food-related class action lawsuits. He filed a false advertising lawsuit against coconut water makers Vita Coco and One World Enterprises, accusing the companies of overstating their nutrient levels on their labels. Shenkman is also the named plaintiff in a proposed class action suit against Panda Express that accuses the chain of adding chicken powder to its vegetarian dishes.
Read more about the lawsuit…
Source: Reuters, The Consumerist