Investors and fast-casual watchers alike can’t decide whether they love or loathe Chipotle’s bold decision last week to hire Brian Niccol, the chief executive of Taco Bell, to lead the troubled chain, which still can’t shake its reputation, fair or not, for serving tainted burritos. Or having rats fall from the ceiling at a Dallas store.
Some applauded the company’s pick, saying Niccol was the right person to make Chipotle relevant and innovative again. But Jim Cramer, the host of CNBC’s “Mad Money,” couldn’t wrap his mind around the culture clash of a quick-serve CEO suddenly running a fast-casual chain built on fresh, high-quality ingredients.
“This is a staggering pick,” Cramer said last week. “It’s everything they don’t stand for. It’s like naming a guy from the Army to run the Air Force.”