America Isn't So Hyped For Chipotle These Days

The burrito bowls and guacamole just aren’t calling to us like they used to.

Where did our love go? From roughly 2012 to 2015, our collective enthusiasm for Chipotle's burritos, bowls, chips, and guacamole seemed to be at its peak. Extra charges or not, everyone wanted that aluminum container piled high, and we didn't even care that the meal never involved dessert. But now, as Bon Appétit explains, it seems as though customers are singing a different tune about the Mexican fast casual chain.

Communities on both TikTok and Reddit have been openly discussing the overall decline of Chipotle's food quality for a while now. One TikTok post from user @JeanineAmapola lamenting that Chipotle's food "just doesn't hit the way it used to" and no longer comes in portions worth the price has received more than 1 million views and over 72,000 likes.


The downfall of chipotle 😅What do y'all think? chipotle

♬ original sound – JeanineAmapola

Meanwhile on Reddit, one thread from early 2023 asks, "Has Chipotle quality gone downhill?"

"I recall Chipotle used to taste very fresh," the user writes. "I was a Chipotle FIEND probably 8-10 years ago, then I took a bit of a break... Maybe my palate has changed, but the whole meal just tastes fair/bleh at best. Just feels like mega salt overload. Maybe it always was. I dunno."

Many commenters in this thread agree that the food has become more salty and the overall experience in the restaurants is not what it once was.

"Yeah it's more expensive, worse quality, and they give you far less in each scoop of everything than they used to," writes one Reddit user, echoing the portion complaint of the aforementioned TikTok video. "I miss the glory days of chipotle from years ago :("

Bon Appetit posits that the alleged downturn in Chipotle's quality might have something to do with its E. coli outbreak in 2015. After that, the chain increased the standardization of ingredients in the name of food safety. But as with any fast food that ships in so much of its menu from outside, the changes might be detectable in the quality of the finished product.

The perceived decline in food quality might not be such a highly discussed issue were it not coupled with Chipotle's multiple recent price increases. Over the past two years, the chain's menu prices have increased four times, but for varying reasons. In 2021, In 2021, prices went up roughly 4% to cover the cost of raising workers' wages. This increase translated to a $10 burrito becoming $10.40, and a $9.20 burrito bowl increasing to $9.57.

In 2022, two more price hikes hit the menu, and Chipotle noted them as a response to inflation. These increases led to customers in some areas paying up to $1 more for their entrees. A Reddit thread from two months ago discussing the most recent increase in 2023 has over 100 comments, most of which are not exactly forgiving.

"I went to chipotle for the first time in 6 months today," writes one Reddit user. "Used to go all the time from ~2011 forward. Steak burrito was $10.40, portions were horrible, and the poor kid couldn't wrap a burrito to save his life. No way in hell am I going back to chipotle again anymore."

Despite the food complaints and price hikes, Chipotle's bottom line does not appear to have been impacted. Chipotle posted higher than expected earnings during the third quarter of 2023. Its revenue rose 11.3% over last year, and its net income went up nearly 13% to hit $313.2 million.