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Leave the gun. Take the burrito. Chipotle scores CSR win.

May 20th, 2014 | Posted by Claire Sommer in Green Business

When customers talk, brands listen. And act.

Or at least the smart, winning ones do.

After a bruising shareholder vote-down on executive pay last week, Chipotle sure needed a win.

It got one yesterday, courtesy of some loaded semi-automatic weapons and some pissed-off moms.

The company’s leadership responded quickly to parents and advocates who are working for sane, sensible, eminently reasonable gun control as a public health and safety imperative.

This is another great example of what I’m calling the “CVS Effect”–the growing trend of companies doing the right thing, because it’s the right thing to do.

Every time a major brand, retailer or company speaks up or takes positive steps for their customers’ well-being, health, and the environment, they create a little more safe ground for others to follow their lead.

Here’s how Chipotle’s win came about.

Four days ago, open-carry gun rights advocates in Dallas, Texas decided to display their guns at a Chipotle restaurant.

Then, they posted the photos of their “open-carry rally” on social media.

That’s when the gun-control group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America decided to, well, demand action.

They launched a viral campaign, #BurritosNotBullets, asking Chipotle to ban guns from its restaurants.

Just two days later on Monday, Chipotle responded by asking customers not to bring guns into their restaurants.

Via Huffington Post:

The Pro-Gun Invasion of Chipotle Totally Backfired

Gun-rights activists have shot themselves in the foot, again, with a gun rally that caused another major American retail chain to declare firearms unwelcome.

Chipotle on Monday said it wanted customers to stop bringing guns to its restaurants, after photos of an open-carry rally at one of its Dallas restaurants went viral — thanks in part to the shrewd social-media campaign of a gun-control group. The striking photos showed a dozen or so people brandishing firearms, including semiautomatic rifles, both inside and outside the restaurant.

I think that Chipotle Mexican Grill deserves this CSR win (that’s Corporate Social Responsibility), a ton of good publicity after last week’s executive pay black eye, and hopefully a bump in sales.

That’s because the company’s leadership acted fast and unequivocally to do the right thing.

Because come on, there’s no good reason, of any kind, ever, to bring a loaded semi-automatic weapon into a public dining establishment.

In my mind, the open-carry advocates weren’t there for the burritos. They were there to make a point–their point.

Sure, Chipotle took a risk in making their public statement, but it was a calculated one bolstered by public, customer support. They had 10,000 petition signatures and a Twitter storm to back them up.

As well, coming out on the side of moms and families is consistent with Chipotle’s brand value of putting their customers’ needs and wants for healthy food first.

Plus, it’s worth remembering too that, besides being the right thing to do, good CSR action is good business.

From a cold-hard cash perspective, there are a lot of moms (and dads and caretakers and aunties) who like taking their young ones to Chipotle.

And just want to eat their burrito in peace.

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