Topics in this article

Chipotle starts charging for tortillas

By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links

Chipotle Mexican Grill will begin charging 25 cents for customers who order a tortilla with a menu item that wouldn’t normally come with one.

The “menu hack” was considered a way to get more food for the same price. Most commonly savvy customers would order a burrito bowl instead of a traditional rolled burrito because the bowls typically come with more food than can be stuffed inside a tortilla.

Chipotle hadn’t been charging customers for the tortillas, but it appears the fast casual Mexican chain may have caught on that it was giving away food essentially for free.

Combined with other “hacks” such as ordering extra rice and beans, which typically don’t cost extra, customers discovered they could stretch their food dollars — with some boasting about how they got so much food it could be stretched to across multiple meals.

Most Chipotle locations use a menu that charges based on the protein the customer pick for some of its highest profile items including burritos, burrito bowls and salads, meaning that a burrito and burrito bowl would typically be the same cost assuming the same protein was ordered.

The chain’s chicken and plant based proteins tend to be cheapest, with pork based carnitas costing a bit more and beef based steak and barbacoa topping out as some of the most pricey items.

The chain also offers a veggie option that includes guacamole but no meat. Guacamole is an extra charge for other menu items.

Tortillas are built into the cost of traditional burritos but aren’t included in burrito bowls, which are a sort of “deconstructed” burrito sans tortilla.

The move comes as restaurants of all types and sizes attempt to adjust to the coronavirus pandemic — which includes moves such as contactless menus, a shift to delivery and takeout and more strategies.

Some Chipotle fans took to social media to bemoan the new charge — many chalking it up to yet more “bad news” in the mess that 2020 has been.