Chipotle’s tough year just got worse

Chipotle's tough year

The fast casual Mexican chain just got more bad news.

After an E. coli outbreak prompted it to close stores temporarily and led to widespread media coverage, Chipotle has hit its lowest consumer perception since YouGov BrandIndex began measuring it in June 2007. A metric that tracks whether consumers would consider buying its food also dropped.

YouGov interviewed 27,000 adults this year as part of this research.

Source: Chipotle | Twitter

Chipotle did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

Chipotle 43 restaurants in the Seattle and Portland areas after some customers became sick due to E. coli. It is not the first setback for the company this year. It has also battled a pork shortage after it suspended a relationship with one of its key suppliers that did not meet its animal welfare standards.

Chipotle damage control

Prior to the E. coli shutdown, 8 percent more adults had a positive view of the chain than a negative one. But after the shutdown, this reversed and 19 percent more had a negative one than a positive one, YouGov found.

Purchase consideration also dropped considerably. As of Halloween, nearly a quarter of adults said they would consider buying Chipotle the next time they wanted to eat fast casual fare. This has since dropped to 19 percent.