Thanks, Hillary: Chipotle Sales Plummet

 

chipotle-e1422995779556-1940x1089Less than a week after Hillary Clinton stiffed the servers at a Chipotle, the company admitted they didn’t hit their first quarter numbers. Forbes magazine is concerned that the lackluster performance might indicate a slowdown for the vibrant burrito sector of the American economy.

Way to go, Democrats:

Burrito behemoth Chipotle has built its success on fresh ingredients and a reputation for being a healthier alternative to other fast (or fast-casual) food. But as health-conscious consumers have learned that Chipotle is not always all that healthy – a day’s worth of sodium, anyone? — revenue growth and same-store sales at the restaurant chain has slowed, indicating that the burrito market is no longer “hotter than hot sauce.”

Chipotle Mexican Grill reported Tuesday afternoon that it recorded $1.09 billion in first quarter revenue, a figure that marks a healthy 20.4% increase over sales reported this time last year but that is short of the $1.11 billion Wall Street expected to see from the company. The 20.4% sales growth, too, looks less impressive upon further inspection: it’s down from 27% growth last quarter and down from the 24% pop reported for the year-ago quarter.

Same-store sales increased 10.4%, but slowed on a quarter-by-quarter basis: the first quarter’s result is down from the 16.1% growth reported in the fourth quarter of 2014 and from 19.8% in 2014′s third quarter. The company said that comparable sales growth was driven by an increase in check size (due to a menu price increase that took full effect during the second quarter of 2014) as well as increased foot traffic.

As of today, company shares are down 5%. Living in the Great American Southwest, I’m happy to see Chipotle’s numbers lagging. Despite what those in the upper Midwest and East Coast might think, the company makes a horrible burrito and I’ll tell you why.

Behold the Five Pillars of Burrito-making:

  1. No rice is allowed in a burrito. The tortilla wrapping provides 100% of your starchy, carby goodness. Tossing in two cups of flavorless white rice is unnecessary as it is unhealthy. It throws off the optimal protein/fat/carb balance while subtracting flavor. Might as well fill it with packing peanuts and dryer lint.
  2. Incorrect ratio of tortilla to filling. The weight of the filling should be no more than twice the weight of the tortilla. Yes, I just made up that ratio, but Chipotle violates it by a factor of three. Again, this throws off the balance of ingredients and tastes awful.
  3. Tortillas should have flavor. The best part of a good burrito at my Phoenix-area hole-in-the-wall is the fresh-made tortilla still warm from the oven. Chipotle’s tortillas taste like their rice which tastes like nothing whatsoever. The last time they saw an oven was two weeks back when they left the factory in Omaha.
  4. Keep it simple. I’ll allow three ingredients in a burrito; four if I’ve had a couple Negra Modelos. But this barbacoa/corn/rice/sour cream/pico de gallo/guacamole/cheese/beans nonsense is an abomination. You know what my local burritería puts in their Carne Asada Burrito? Carne asada. Don’t mess with perfection, gringos.
  5. Keep it semi-healthy. Despite being advertised as “healthy,” a Chipotle burrito clocks in at about 1,000 calories — 1,600 if you get all the fixings. That latter number is all the calories you need in a day, and you wasted it on a horrible fast-food burrito. I have no idea how many calories my aforementioned Carne Asada Burrito offers since the owners are probably not on the best terms with federal agencies. (I can’t wear a tie and shades into the place without someone shouting “la migra!” and clearing out the kitchen.) But I’d guess the meal is under 700 calories with a plurality of that being protein. I can eat three of those a day and tomorrow I just might.

As you can see, burrito science proves that Chipotle makes terrible food. While I’m ranting about Mexican food (my favorite cuisine, I might add), I must note that every border state has their own spin. New Mexico focuses on the chiles, Arizona on the meat, and so on. Here are my rankings on which region offers the best Mexican cuisine:

  1. New Mexico
  2. Arizona
  3. The country of Mexico
  4. California and Texas (tie)

If you disagree with any of the information provided above, be sure to chastise me in the comments. I’m off to get some carne asada.

There are 49 comments.

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  1. awksedperl Member
    awksedperl
    @ArchieCampbell

    Amen to your five rules, Jon. I’m a third-generation native Phoenician (though I live in the S.F. Bay Area now.) When I go to a new Mexican restaurant (but not a New Mexican restaurant), I usually order a bean* and cheese burrito. If that’s good, it’s probable that the rest of their menu is pretty good. But if they screw that up, there’s not much hope for them. Living out here, I’ve finally made my peace with soft tacos, but I don’t think I ever will with rice in burritos.

    *Gotta be refried beans.

    • #1
  2. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:chipotle-e1422995779556-1940x1089Less than a week after Hillary Clinton stiffed the servers at a Chipotle, the company admitted they didn’t hit their first quarter numbers. Forbes magazine is concerned that the lackluster performance might indicate a slowdown across the vibrant burrito sector of the American economy.

    Way to go, Democrats:

    Burrito behemoth Chipotle has built its success on fresh ingredients and a reputation for being a healthier alternative to other fast (or fast-casual) food. But as health-conscious consumers have learned that Chipotle is not always all that healthy – a day’s worth of sodium, anyone? — revenue growth and same-store sales at the restaurant chain has slowed, indicating that the burrito market is no longer “hotter than hot sauce.”

    Chipotle Mexican Grill reported Tuesday afternoon that it recorded $1.09 billion in first quarter revenue, a figure that marks a healthy 20.4% increase over sales reported this time last year but that is short of the $1.11 billion Wall Street expected to see from the company. The 20.4% sales growth, too, looks less impressive upon further inspection: it’s down from 27% growth last quarter and down from the 24% pop reported for the year-ago quarter.

    Same-store sales increased 10.4%, but slowed on a quarter-by-quarter basis: the first quarter’s result is down from the 16.1% growth reported in the fourth quarter of 2014 and from 19.8% in 2014′s third quarter. The company said that comparable sales growth was driven by an increase in check size (due to a menu price increase that took full effect during the second quarter of 2014) as well as increased foot traffic.

    As of today, company shares are down 5%. Living in the Great American Southwest, I’m happy to see Chipotle’s numbers lagging. Despite what those in the upper Midwest and East Coast might think, the company makes a horrible burrito and I’ll tell you why.

    Behold the Five Pillars of Burrito-making:

    1. No rice is allowed in a burrito. The tortilla wrapping provides 100% of your starchy, carby goodness. Tossing in two cups of flavorless white rice is unnecessary as it is unhealthy. It throws off the optimal protein/fat/carb balance while subtracting flavor. Might as well fill it with packing peanuts and dryer lint.
    2. Incorrect ratio of tortilla to filling. The weight of the filling should be no more than twice the weight of the tortilla. Yes, I just made up that ratio, but Chipotle violates it by a factor of three. Again, this throws off the balance of ingredients and tastes awful.
    3. Tortillas should have flavor. The best part of a good burrito at my Phoenix-area hole-in-the-wall is the fresh-made tortilla still warm from the oven. Chipotle’s tortillas taste like their rice which tastes like nothing whatsoever. The last time they saw an oven was two weeks back when they left the factory in Omaha.
    4. Keep it simple. I’ll allow three ingredients in a burrito; four if I’ve had a couple Negra Modelos. But this barbacoa/corn/rice/sour cream/pico de gallo/guacamole/cheese/beans nonsense is an abomination. You know what my local burritería puts in their Carne Asada Burrito? Carne asada. Don’t mess with perfection, gringos.
    5. Keep it semi-healthy. Despite being advertised as “healthy,” a Chipotle burrito clocks in at about 1,000 calories — 1,600 if you get all the fixings. That latter number is all the calories you need in a day, and you wasted it on a horrible fast-food burrito. I have no idea how many calories my aforementioned Carne Asada Burrito offers since the owners are probably not on the best terms with federal agencies. (I can’t wear a tie and shades into the place without someone shouting “la migra!” and clearing out the kitchen.) But I’d guess the meal is under 700 calories with a plurality of that being protein. I can eat three of those a day and tomorrow I just might.

    As you can see, burrito science proves that Chipotle makes terrible food. While I’m ranting about Mexican food (my favorite cuisine, I might add), I must note that every border state has their own spin. New Mexico focuses on the chiles, Arizona on the meat, and so on. Here are my rankings on which region offers the best Mexican cuisine:

    1. New Mexico
    2. Arizona
    3. The country of Mexico
    4. California and Texas (tie)

    If you disagree with any of the information provided above, be sure to chastise me in the comments. I’m off to get some carne asada.

    Dang it, you are so wrong!  How do I begin?

    1.  No rice?  I often have Spanish rice in burritos (think of a Moe’s Homewrecker).

    2.  As long as there’s more filling than tortilla, who cares what the ratio is?

    3.  The primary function of the tortilla is to hold the ingredients together.  Flavor is okay, but optional.

    4.  Keep it simple?  Well, yes and no.  It’s your dang burrito.  Put whatever you want inside!

    5.  Keep it semi-healthy?  Is this like “a little pregnant?”  The hell with healthy!  This is the non-healthy meal you treat yourself to for eating friggin’ 100-calorie Greek yogurt tubs for lunch all week.  PIG OUT!

    Finally, can’t argue with New Mexico.  I’d add Colorado, Texas too.

    • #2
  3. user_189393 Member
    user_189393
    @BarkhaHerman

    I stopped going to Chipotle when they had to come out and make a statement that no guns allowed in their stores.

    And, their burritos suck!

    • #3
  4. user_1065645 Podcaster
    user_1065645
    @DaveSussman

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    • New Mexico
    • Arizona
    • The country of Mexico
    • California and Texas (tie)

    One of the best burritos I ever scarfed ate was in Phoenix. Carolinas was so good I went back the next day for the recommended chimichangas. And yes, their tortillas were amazing.

    • #4
  5. Kim K. Member
    Kim K.
    @KimK

    I had to laugh at your listing. Reminds me of the time I visited my sister and her husband who were working in Chiapas State of Mexico. Certainly the tacos were authentic, but quite different from the ones I get at my hole in the wall joint here in California. I asked what was in an ubre taco, which seemed to be a specialty. Yeah, I decided against that!

    • #5
  6. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @GalPal

    Rule one is the absolute truth. Rice in a burrito is the worst idea since Velveeta in… anything. I’d love for Susana Martinez to share her favorites in NM, but until then I vote for The Shed in Santa Fe. So damn good (especially with sangria). ;)

    • #6
  7. Elephas Americanus Member
    Elephas Americanus
    @ElephasAmericanus

    Please don’t go all Diana Kennedy on us.

    Any Texan who loves their Mexican food will know what I mean by that: Diana Kennedy began her crusade in the 1970s to anathematize Tex-Mex food, consulting with restaurants who wanted to go “authentic.” (Her first rule: no chips and salsa.) But the cuisine she was attacking is authentic to Texas and other parts of the American Southwest.

    And the style of burrito Chipotle serves is an authentic burrito, too: It’s a San Francisco burrito, also called a Mission burrito for the neighborhood of San Francisco in which it developed. So it’s not an authentic Norteño-style Mexican burrito (and by the original poster’s criteria, a Taco Bell bean burrito is pretty darn authentic), but it’s not necessarily ever been sold as such. Just because the style of burrito Chipotle serves isn’t authentic to what’s served in Arizona doesn’t mean it’s inauthentic everywhere – the same way I argue that just because the chimichanga may be inauthentic to my Mexican-American friends in Southern California doesn’t mean it isn’t authentic in Arizona where it was invented.

    • #7
  8. Max Ledoux Admin
    Max Ledoux
    @Max

    I love Chipotle. Now matter how long the line is, it takes no more than 5 minutes to get a burrito.

    • #8
  9. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Barkha Herman:I stopped going to Chipotle when they had to come out and make a statement that no guns allowed in their stores.

    And, their burritos suck!

    No guns?  Chipotle is opening a store locally.  I will not be patronizing them now for two reasons:

    1.  BIG Hillary supporters, and

    2.  Anti-gun.

    Thanks, Barkha!

    • #9
  10. The King Prawn Member
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Tortillas are not made in an oven. They’re made on a comal. The one time I had my native Washingtonian wife in Texas she was absolutely floored by the fact that fast food Mexican there is better than sit down Mexican food here.

    On the rice issue I’m agnostic. In the Mexican food up here it is necessary to absorb all the grease, but I won’t put plain white rice in it. That is just silly.

    But if we’re really going to discuss Mexican food, then let’s be real and talk about how many tamales you can eat before you explode. Mrs. G. (wife of my grandfather’s best friend and decades long employee) used to bring them to us by the lot just to show her appreciation for our family friendship. Real, homemade tamales are where it’s at.

    • #10
  11. user_199279 Coolidge
    user_199279
    @ChrisCampion

    There’s a Chipotle about a 5 minute walk from my front door.  Now, because I know about their anti-gun/Hillary thing, will I never, ever, taste a delicious burrito from them?

    Maybe.  I don’t know.  But the Power of Burrito might compel me.

    4807771076_a34553e750_z

    • #11
  12. user_532371 Member
    user_532371
    @BrandonPhelps

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    As you can see, burrito science proves that Chipotle makes terrible food. While I’m ranting about Mexican food (my favorite cuisine, I might add), I must note that every border state has their own spin. New Mexico focuses on the chiles, Arizona on the meat, and so on. Here are my rankings on which region offers the best Mexican cuisine:

    1. New Mexico
    2. Arizona
    3. The country of Mexico
    4. California and Texas (tie)

    If you disagree with any of the information provided above, be sure to chastise me in the comments. I’m off to get some carne asada.

    Chipotle is tasteless, bland garbage. San Diego Mexican food bests New Mexico, but not by much. Tacos El Portal in Escondido CA is possibly the finest taco shop food out there. There are a few others. I agree with placing Mexico in third place, but I have a hunch if I really tried more of the country’s best food joints it would be in first.

    • #12
  13. Jojo Member
    Jojo
    @TheDowagerJojo

    Stad:

    Barkha Herman:I stopped going to Chipotle when they had to come out and make a statement that no guns allowed in their stores.

    And, their burritos suck!

    No guns? Chipotle is opening a store locally. I will not be patronizing them now for two reasons:

    1. BIG Hillary supporters, and

    2. Anti-gun.

    Thanks, Barkha!

    3. AND they made a big public show of withdrawing support from the Boy Scouts.

    • #13
  14. user_88846 Member
    user_88846
    @MikeHubbard

    I agree that rice has no place in a burrito, but disagree that Arizona is great. That’s the state that gave us the chimichanga, a deep fried monstrosity that makes your arteries clog just thinking about it.

    • #14
  15. blank generation member Member
    blank generation member
    @blankgenerationmember

    Ms. Clinton’s entourage could’ve stopped at a Home Depot on the route and ordered tacos de lengue at the local vendor.  This would’ve gotten the hipster foodie truck and illegal alien vote.   Oops, illegal aliens don’t vote.

    • #15
  16. The King Prawn Member
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Mike Hubbard:I agree that rice has no place in a burrito, but disagree that Arizona is great. That’s the state that gave us the chimichanga, a deep fried monstrosity that makes your arteries clog just thinking about it.

    And? You say that like it’s a bad thing.

    • #16
  17. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    Elephas Americanus:And the style of burrito Chipotle serves is an authentic burrito, too: It’s a San Francisco burrito, also called a Mission burrito for the neighborhood of San Francisco in which it developed.

    The authenticity of the Chipotle burrito or lack there of doesn’t particularly bother me, it can be as authentic as hell and still be meh, as it were.

    Their food is mediocre fast food and their ostentatious politics are obnoxious, just focus on the food you clowns and if you ever get that right then try to bore me with your politics or better yet don’t.

    • #17
  18. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    David Sussman:

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    • New Mexico
    • Arizona
    • The country of Mexico
    • California and Texas (tie)

    One of the best burritos I ever scarfed ate was in Phoenix. Carolinas was so good I went back the next day for the recommended chimichangas. And yes, their tortillas were amazing.

    Carolina’s is phenomenal. Just went there a couple weeks ago.

    • #18
  19. The King Prawn Member
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Roberto:

    Their food is mediocre fast food and their ostentatious politics are obnoxious, just focus on the food you clowns and if you ever get that right then try to bore me with your politics or better yet don’t.

    It’s my theory that most hip things like Chipotle and Apple are selling their politics, not their food or products.

    • #19
  20. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    Mike Hubbard:I agree that rice has no place in a burrito, but disagree that Arizona is great. That’s the state that gave us the chimichanga, a deep fried monstrosity that makes your arteries clog just thinking about it.

    You take that back. YOU TAKE THAT BACK RIGHT NOW!

    A good chimichanga is excellent, albeit hard to find.

    • #20
  21. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    Max Ledoux, Admin:I love Chipotle. Now matter how long the line is, it takes no more than 5 minutes to get a burrito.

    You are a terrible person. I now question your politics, your intelligence and your sense of morality.

    • #21
  22. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    Elephas Americanus:Please don’t go all Diana Kennedy on us.

    Any Texan who loves their Mexican food will know what I mean by that: Diana Kennedy began her crusade in the 1970s to anathematize Tex-Mex food, consulting with restaurants who wanted to go “authentic.” (Her first rule: no chips and salsa.) But the cuisine she was attacking is authentic to Texas and other parts of the American Southwest.

    And the style of burrito Chipotle serves is an authentic burrito, too: It’s a San Francisco burrito, also called a Mission burrito for the neighborhood of San Francisco in which it developed. So it’s not an authentic Norteño-style Mexican burrito (and by the original poster’s criteria, a Taco Bell bean burrito is pretty darn authentic), but it’s not necessarily ever been sold as such. Just because the style of burrito Chipotle serves isn’t authentic to what’s served in Arizona doesn’t mean it’s inauthentic everywhere – the same way I argue that just because the chimichanga may be inauthentic to my Mexican-American friends in Southern California doesn’t mean it isn’t authentic in Arizona where it was invented.

    Diana Kennedy cookbooks are excellent, but they are as much anthropology as cooking. I agree that each region has its own “authentic” cuisine, whether it is a state in Mexico or a state in the southwestern U.S.

    As for your second point, I’m afraid that my rules are ironclad. Mission-style burritos are in violation of the Universal Burrito Laws outlined above and thus should be banned from any decent restaurant. I hereby excommunicate San Francisco from the true faith.

    • #22
  23. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    Archie Campbell:Amen to your five rules, Jon. I’m a third-generation native Phoenician (though I live in the S.F. Bay Area now.) When I go to a new Mexican restaurant (but not a New Mexican restaurant), I usually order a bean* and cheese burrito. If that’s good, it’s probable that the rest of their menu is pretty good. But if they screw that up, there’s not much hope for them. Living out here, I’ve finally made my peace with soft tacos, but I don’t think I ever will with rice in burritos.

    *Gotta be refried beans.

    That’s a good test. Same goes for salsa and chile colorado (red enchilada sauce) on the side. If they can’t get the basics right, I have no hope for the more creative stuff.

    • #23
  24. TeamAmerica Member
    TeamAmerica
    @TeamAmerica

    @GalPal- Welcome to Ricochet! Given the polite, civil discussions we have, I think you’ll enjoy it here. (Just beware a member with the handle ‘Ten cents’)

    • #24
  25. Kay of MT Member
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    TeamAmerica:@GalPal- Welcome to Ricochet! Given the polite, civil discussions we have, I think you’ll enjoy it here. (Just beware a member with the handle ‘Ten cents’)

    Welcome GalPal, and don’t pay any attention to the above message. Ten Cents is the Dime Puppet, and he gives hugs if you need one.

    • #25
  26. MLH Member
    MLH
    @MLH

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    David Sussman:

    One of the best burritos I ever scarfed ate was in Phoenix. Carolinas was so good I went back the next day for the recommended chimichangas. And yes, their tortillas were amazing.

    Carolina’s is phenomenal. Just went there a couple weeks ago.

    Forget The Meadows. Meetup at  Carolina’s! Carolina

    • #26
  27. user_139157 Member
    user_139157
    @PaulJCroeber

    I’ve gone to Chipotle exactly once.  I was told prior to entering that I need to quickly order as regulars exhibit little patience for those unlike them.  As such, I’m not surprised by their politics/values.

    • #27
  28. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    El Burrito Loco in Joliet, Illinois. Burritos the size of your head.

    And Jon, I agree about the rice, but no beans? No cheese? What are you – some kind of Communist?

    You probably put ketchup on your hot dogs too.

    • #28
  29. Penfold Member
    Penfold
    @Penfold

    We’ve weathered stormy arguments about politics, religion, gender and race.  But this burrito feud may be the end of civil discourse at Ricochet.  I wash my hands of it.

    • #29
  30. user_352043 Moderator
    user_352043
    @AmySchley

    Paul J. Croeber:I’ve gone to Chipotle exactly once. I was told prior to entering that I need to quickly order as regulars exhibit little patience for those unlike them. As such, I’m not surprised by their politics/values.

    Okay, maybe I just have the wrong politics, but really, if you can’t figure out what you want at Chipotle by the time you’ve gotten to the help, you’re a moron.

    Do you want your ingredients in a burrito shell, taco shells, or in a bowl?

    White or brown rice?

    Beef, chicken, pork, or veggies?

    Black or pinto beans?

    Mild, medium, hot, or corn salsa?

    Sour cream, cheese, or guac?

    It’s all either on the big board or right in front of you, and it’s not rocket science.  And lime-salt chips? So yummy.

    I don’t get Freebird’s Burritos as a concept. If one is trying to compete with Chipotle, one shouldn’t be different by being slower and more expensive.  Having three times as many ingredients that sit out longer is not a selling point either.

    • #30

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