Food Trends

Hospitalized Chipotle customer asks for more burritos in foodborne illness settlement

A hospitalized Chipotle diner has reportedly asked for more food from the chain.

A hospitalized Chipotle diner has reportedly asked for more food from the chain.

Chipotle is still trying to woo customers with free food, drinks and promotions after a series of food borne illnesses hit locations across the country last year.

But one 19-year-old victim isn’t going to get a little E.Coli get in the way of her love for burritos.

Since March, the Mexican Grill has settled almost 100 legal cases with customers who got sick after eating tainted food (Chipotle faced bouts of E. coli, norovirus, and salmonella). Most customers asked for cash to pay off hospital bills and other damages.

But one client, represented by Seattle-based personal injury lawyer Bill Marler, didn’t just want cash—she wanted more Chipotle, in the form of free food coupons.

"I have being doing these kinds of cases for 20 years and sued every restaurant chain you can imagine and I have never seen people willing to go back to a restaurant under those circumstances," Marler told Business Insider. He said he was “shocked” by the woman’s request.

Chipotle was apparently more than happy to provide the woman, who has not been named, with coupons for more meals. In addition to an undisclosed sum of money, Chipotle paid gave Marler’s client about three dozen burritos' worth of free coupons.

Marler has 96 other customers with whom Chipotle has settled and he told Business Insider the 19-year-old isn’t his only client who couldn’t give up burritos and bowls—some even after being hospitalized for days.

"More than just a few of them were pretty big fans of Chipotle," Marler said. "In fact a couple of them, during their case, told me they had gone back to Chipotle — which I thought was a little strange."

Unfortunately for Chipotle, not every consumer has been as forgiving as Marler’s clients. Same-store sales have declined for the last three straight quarters, even as the chain tries free food giveaways and more.