Speaking at a panel at the British Hospitality Association summit yesterday (6 June), Selby described how the incident in October ‘nearly crippled the business’.
The Mexican group had to close nine of its 25 restaurants after around 160 diners and 200 staff became unwell from an external source.
“We tried to approach it how our brand would, with a moral position, as opposed to how potential investors would,” said Selby.
“Tommi (Miers, co-founder of Wahaca), and I wrote handwritten letters to everyone who had been ill apologising profusely and asking them to contact us. We’ve had about an 80% return rate on those people we wrote to who were ill in our restaurants.”
Selby added that Wahaca – which also owns the quick-service Burrito Mama restaurant and the DF Mexico group - was considering developing further brands in the Mexican market.
“There are a lot of opportunities around that, going from burritos up to Wahaca and possibly even a more premium project as well,” said Selby.
“Having multiple brands within the same cuisine type is a really interesting opportunity for us and one we feel in a really good position to take advantage of.”
Last month Selby said Wahaca was working hard to settle a ‘small number’ of financial claims from diners who fell ill last October.