Entries in Chipotle Mexican Grill (6)


Chipotle Stops Keeping Customers’ Change

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- If you’ve bought a burrito at Chipotle recently, chances are you didn’t know the popular chain was keeping your change.

At certain locations around the country, the restaurant would round the receipt up or down to the nearest nickel.

Jayson Greenberg, a West Caldwell, N.J., Chipotle customer, noticed last month that his receipts didn’t add up and confronted a manager about it.

“He said, ‘Oh, it’s a computer program.  It is just rounding numbers.  It takes a little from certain receipts and gives a little to others.  What do you want?  A few pennies?’” Greenberg told the Star Ledger.

Starting on Aug. 2, the West Caldwell location began posting a “round -.002″ on their receipts indicating how much the price had been adjusted.

Chris Arnold, a Chipotle representative, said the rounding was an effort to keep long lines moving faster.  The company has since stopped rounding the bills up but will continue to round them down, in favor of the customer.

“In an effort to keep lines moving quickly in some of our higher volume restaurants (including New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C.), bills are automatically rounded down to the nearest nickel to limit the possible combinations of change that have to made.  The amount that is rounded down is highlighted on receipts to explain why the total may differ slightly than what it would otherwise be,” he told ABC News.

In July, the company posted a revenue increase of 23.2 percent to $1.33 billion for six months compared to 2011.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Taco Bell Goes Upscale With New Menu

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(MIAMI) -- Who says fast food can’t have a touch of fine dining?  Taco Bell announced plans this week for a new upscale menu, in an attempt to compete with popular restaurant chain Chipotle.

Miami chef Lorena Garcia, an upcoming Top Chef Masters competitor, began collaborating on the menu with Taco Bell in October in 2010.

“They have a passionate fan base that loves the great taste of the classic menu items – and they don’t want to change that. They were looking to keep these menu items and expand their food to offer new flavors with great taste,” said Garcia in a statement.

Whole black beans, cilantro rice, citrus marinated chicken, Haas avocado guacamole and corn salsa are some of the new items that will be added to the menu.

The restaurant is known for less health-conscious late-night dining items like cheese roll-ups, volcano tacos and large nachos.  Their newest item, Doritos Los Tacos, sold over 100 million in past 10 weeks.

Taco Bell, which is comprised of over 5,600 restaurants, will roll out the new menu July 5 at a suggested $5 or less per item.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Fast Casual Restaurants Thrive as Fast Food Chains Struggle

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Fast food is undergoing a facelift and the doctors behind it are some of America's most popular chefs.

Celebrity chefs from television shows like Iron Chef, Top Chef and The Chew are whetting America's appetite for more sophisticated foods.

"We're seeing people interested in all sorts of tastes ... Mexican, Asian, Indian is really big right now," said Blair Chancey, editor of QSR Magazine.

While fast food chains and family restaurant chains are seeing their lowest sales all year, something right in the middle is sizzling: fast casual. It's a little more expensive than fast food, a little less than those family restaurants and the food is definitely different.

In the last year alone sales in the fast casual sector reached $18 billion. According to a new study, millions of Americans are no longer just looking for speed, they want quality. They are in search of fresh, natural and nutritious meals -- exactly what Chipotle's founder says his restaurant strives to offer.

"Just because it's fast doesn't mean it has to be a typical fast-food experience," Chipotle founder Steve Ells said.

Part of Chipotle's mission is to serve chickens that are fed a vegetarian diet as well as naturally raised pork and beef, he said.

Chipotle set the standard for fast casual success and now many other chefs are trying to cash in on the growing market.

In California, Jonathan Kaplan, creator of the Flip video camera, is turning from tech to taste. He is starting a chain of grilled cheese restaurants called The Melt.

"Americans want high quality, but they want it to be an affordable value and inexpensive, and that's what I think the fast casual industry is trying to do," Kaplan said. "There's really a niche there where restaurants are able to offer high-end quality ingredients, artisanal breads, really high-quality cheeses, but they can do it at a fast casual price point."

Even the founder of Dominos, Tom Monaghan, at the age of 74 is leaving pizza behind for the gourmet burger. His soon-to-be opened establishment in Florida will deliver burgers in 10 to 15 minutes. He said he will be able to do so by limiting choice. The restaurant will offer only two burgers -- no sides, no drinks.

"My philosophy is not to try to be all things to all people -- to do one thing and do it extremely well, better than anyone else can possibly do it and I'm hoping that will spell success," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Which Fast Food Chain Ranks Highest?

Thomas Northcut/Photodisc(NEW YORK) -- When it comes to fast food eateries, just which of the nation's most popular restaurants reign supreme?

In its first-ever ranking of the major American fast food chains, Consumer Reports says Irvine, California-based In-N-Out Burger is tops -- ranking it higher than Wendy’s, Burger King, and even McDonald’s when it comes to the traditional, all-American choice of hamburgers and fries.

The biggest losers in Consumer Reports’ overall ranking included, perhaps surprisingly, some of the most popular names in the industry.

“That includes Burger King, KFC, McDonald’s and Taco Bell,” Consumer Reports senior editor Tod Marks tells ABC News Radio.

“They had uninspiring food, according to our readers,” Marks said. “And their service...was kind of so-so.”

The rankings were based on feedback collected by Consumer Reports on the topics of food, service, value, and speed.

Other chains to earn top spots in their respective categories include Chick-fil-A for chicken and Chipotle for Mexican food.

“They earned very high marks -- the highest possible marks, in fact, for food, for value, for quality of help, and very high marks for speed of service,” Marks said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Chipotle Increasing Prices Amid Rising Food Costs

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill is increasing prices amid the rising costs of commodities such as beef and avocados.

A spokesperson for the company confirms to ABC News Radio that customers in the Northeast and Southeast will be the first to see an increase in menu prices, with changes to follow in other markets.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the company’s New York City-area locations increased prices by 50 cents last week, a figure that Chipotle disputed as inaccurate.

"We have raised prices in some of our markets in response to higher food costs, and plan to raise prices in other markets in the coming months," Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold said in an email to ABC News. "We have always worked hard to get the best ingredients we can, from more sustainable sources, and want to maintain this commitment in spite of higher food costs."

Chipotle operates more than 1,100 restaurants in the United States, Canada and the U.K.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Feds Launch Criminal Investigation over Chipotle Hiring Practices

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, D.C. is investigating Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. for its hiring practices, which have been under review by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The government wishes to establish whether the Mexican restaurant chain knowingly hired illegal immigrants, sources told WSJ.

The disclosure of the Department of Justice probe into Chipotle's quarterly earnings reportedly was made by Chipotle executives on the company's conference call Wednesday.  Prosecutors have sought audits of the company's employees to be completed by ICE agents.

The U.S. Attorney's Office is not commenting on the case.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio