Why 'the downfall of Chipotle' is starting to trend online

According to many social media users, the fast-casual restaurant chain isn’t as great as it was 10 years ago.

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Social media users have recently started to point out that Chipotle Mexican Grill is has started to lack in quality and customer service.

One TikTok user, who’s video has over 2 million views, explained that his portion of chicken he received was much smaller than what he paid for, and that it was not the first time it had happened. However, he implied that it only happens when he uses a mobile delivery service, and others agreed.

A YouTube video with over 250,000 views actually confirmed this. The video explains that in 2021, after Chipotle announced it was raising its prices by 4% to combat inflation, previous employees at the chain were encouraged to give smaller portions to those ordering through a mobile delivery service to save the company money since consumers aren’t watching.

Another TikTok user explained in a video with almost 1 million views that the quality has declined even though the price has increased. One comment on the video states, “I feel bad for people who didn’t get to experience 2009-10 Chipotle.” According to another TikTok user, “Chipotle is just one of those companies that has completely changed in the last years… It’s sad that you can’t expect the good quality that they claim to have.”

The Wall Street Journal even recently reported that Chipotle’s 2023 sales were disappointing.

The restaurant chain grew in popularity quickly about a decade ago for its healthy offerings and the ability to customize any order. At this time, it was one of the only fast-food options that offered fresh options and a “built in front of you” design. After watching multiple videos, it appears there is a consensus that other similar restaurants competing against Chipotle, such as Qdoba and Cava, are higher quality and worth the few extra dollars.

Concerning chicken, Chipotle’s website currently states, “We currently source only Responsibly Raised birds, which means they're fed a 100% vegetarian diet with no antibiotics, but we're always striving to raise our standards even higher.”

The chain also announced collaborations with animal rights organizations Compassion in World Farming USA and The Humane Society of the United States, with plans to source 100% of its chicken from farms using practices aligned with the Global Animal Partnership's (GAP) standard by 2024.

Chipotle even slammed commercial agriculture with its “Farmed and Dangerous” series in 2014.

It is interesting that a company that claims to prepare fresh food every day, and that was one of the first national restaurant brands to commit to using only responsibly raised meat, is getting such harsh backlash. The trend of healthier eating, access to fresh food and animal welfare commitments has been growing in importance to consumers for quite a while.

Maybe this just shows that customer service and transparency is equally, or more, important to today’s cost-conscious consumer.

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