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Chipocalypse Now: How to handle the Chipotle price increase

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Oh dear: Chipotle is raising its prices:

The Mexican food chain said Thursday that it would raise prices for the first time in three years as its popularity continues to soar. Menu boards with the new prices should start rolling out in coming weeks and be in place at all restaurants by this summer.

Executives have said in the past they were considering a hike of about 3 percent to 5 percent. That translates to an extra 24 cents to 40 cents for an $8 burrito bowl.

Jack Hartung, Chipotle’s chief financial officer, said during a conference call with analysts that price is not the main reason customers visit its restaurants anyway.

“Most of the value comes from the experience,” he said.

Well, no–most of the value comes from the combination of reasonable price and high quality that Chipotle offers. There’s a similar local chain where I live–it’s similar on price but Chipotle’s quality is much better, so I don’t go to that other chain.

Chipotle has yet to be taken over by its marketing department, so unfortunately there aren’t a ton of ways to get free or cheap Chipotle food. If you’re a Chipotle fan, I do recommend you read How To Hack Chipotle, which has some great ideas, and here’s another article on the same topic with some more thoughts.

One idea mentioned in both articles is the half-and-half protein technique, where instead of getting double meat you just ask for half of one meat and half of another and end up getting about 150% of the usual meat allotment without paying extra. I’ve been doing this for a while now and highly recommend it.

Another point from the second article:

When you are ordering your burrito bowl, feel free to ask for extras. You can’t ask for extras of meat, but you can for everything else at no additional cost. This includes extra scoops of rice or beans. Again, this doesn’t work so well with the burrito due to the limited space, but you can score a lot of extra food when you order a burrito bowl.

Social engineering, people! Make it work for you in this dark time of rising burrito prices!

17 comments… add one

  • I am a Chipotle fan, so if that is considered hacking I’ll jump in with my “hack” (unofficially named “heartburn”) that you can order the soft tacos individually. By only getting two I save like $2 to help finance that chips and guac and its still plenty for me to eat. And, while not scientific, I think I get 82% of the meat they usually parcel out on the usual three.

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    • Maybe you could try the 50/50 trick on each individual taco? Though that may annoy the people working there.

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  • Endless afternoon farting just got more expensive

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  • You can pretty easily get a bowl loaded up with extras to come out to almost 2 calories/cent. Although for me it is really more of a functional lunch than an aspirational lunch.

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    • I never thought of things in terms of calories per cent–thanks!

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      • Cf. “char kway teow”

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      • The lower the cost per calorie, the more likely you are to end up obese and struggle with metabolic diseases.

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        • Depends on the type of calorie and on how many of them you eat.

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          • …and burn off.

  • One trick on the onions and peppers. Pretend to forget to ask for them. When they hand you the food say “OH! I’m sorry I wanted fajita onions and peppers”. They’ll put them in a plastic bowl and it’ll be more than what they would have put directly in your food.

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  • @Gary: there’s already a thread on FT stating you just blew the cover on Chipolte and they’re thinking of pulling the option of burrito bowls off the menu!

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  • Wow I really had no idea people were so cheap about an $8 fast food meal. I get wanting to get bang for your buck, but Chipotle is already a pretty good deal to begin with even with the price increase. Do you all really feel that you aren’t getting enough food at chipotle that you need to find ways to stuff your face even more?!? Or is this more just about being greedy and seeing how much you can take and then throw out when you can’t finish it?

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    • I can’t speak for others, but I have a wife and four kids, so every dollar helps.

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    • You must not live in NYC. It’s a lot more expensive, and in a smaller amount here.

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    • Not everyone has a money tree in their backyard ;)

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    • Jared, I hope you find your sense of humor soon. It can be hard to go through life without one.

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      • I deserve my fare share, and I’m gonna get it. I’m a taxpayer, you know.

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