Chipotle's prices going up, portion sizes going down

The prices have increased substantially. Burritos, Bowls etc depending on the meat you get have risen about 25 cents in price (this may vary depending on where you live). A brown bag of chips has gone up from 75 cents to $1.15. The guac price and drink price has also gone up.

That's not even the worse part: the portions are shrinking, significantly.

At the old Chipotle you used to receive a generous helping of rice, beans and meat. They used to cover your entree with as much cheese as you want and smother it in salsa and sour cream. Now however, it's quite the contrary.

Sure, you still get a nice portion of rice and beans (after all those are cheap). But they have gotten very stingy on the meat and cheese. A few weeks ago, when the employee dropped about 3 pieces of chicken on my bowl, I asked him for more (not "double" meat, just the appropriate amount for a single serving). He put more on for me but then said, "I'm really not suppose to do that, they have cameras watching us."

WHAT!?!?! Since when does Chipotle monitor and track how much food their employees are serving up?

The cheese situation is worse. Personally I like a lot, I mean a lot of cheese on my bowl. Now the employees are sprinkling about 16 shredded pieces of cheese on top. I find myself asking 2-3 times for more cheese until they finally get it right.

This might sound silly to you, after all it's just a few cents right? You might not have even noticed. But that extra change adds up to be a substantial price increase to your final bill. Depending on what you order your final check total may rise $2-$3. That's a lot for a "fast casual" chain with no table service.

Before we go out to eat in a restaurant we all have a number in mind of what we want to spend. It might be $15, $25 or $50 depending on where you're going to eat. For places like Chipotle, Panera or Moe's, that number should be significantly less than what you would pay at a full service restaurant.

I used to plan on spending about $13-$14 at Chipotle. Now that number has risen to over $15. That's irritating. For a larger family of 3 or 4 it could mean a price change of $28 to over $30....suddenly things feel very different.

The real question is - when will it stop? When will it be enough to make you stop going? This price change/portion reduction was something Chipotle did for themselves, not for us the customer. In these challenging times I can imagine that their price to serve us high quality food has risen. So instead of coming up with alternative solutions they have pushed that on to the customers to pay.

Doesn't seem right to me.

Something very frightening is happening at Chipotle.

In the past 6-8 weeks I have observed some dramatic changes the restaurant chain has made to its pricing structure and portion sizes.

First let's reflect on what Chipotle used to be:

- A commitment to naturally raised products with no chemicals or preservatives.

- Salsas, guacamole, cheese, beans, rice, and meat prepared on an open grill, made fresh daily.

- Moderate/affordable pricing for a high quality neo-Mexican experience: just under $6 for an entree and 75 cents for chips. (Not bad considering what you could pay at many other places)

- Large portions that fill you up, and extras when you ask the employees.

Now, what's different?

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