New Study Reveals Chipotle Is Cheaper Than Most Even After Price Hikes

Chipotle, the fast-casual Mexican chain, has not existed without its fair share of scandals. There are a few secrets Chipotle doesn't want you to know, but some of what we do know is that they've had more than a few big flops, and in February, we warned that your Chipotle order could soon be more expensive. But things aren't always what they seem and sometimes the experts can get it wrong. 

Chipotle did end up raising its menu prices, and Nation's Restaurant News reported that the company's prices are expected to be 20% higher than they were in 2020 by the end of the year. But what no one expected was that even with higher prices, Chipotle might still actually represent a big value in the Mexican fast-casual arena. 

This might be surprising because Chipotle has a reputation for being expensive. A quick look at Reddit tells you all you need to know. "Why is Chipotle so expensive?" and "Is the price of Chipotle even worth it?" are just a few of the conversations you'll find there. But, while the chain is still more expensive than fast food options like Taco Bell and Del Taco, new data shows that a chicken burrito from Chipotle is a better value than one might assume.

Chipotle is actually more affordable than other Mexican fast-casual eateries

Though Chipotle's price hikes are coming at a rate "about 4x to 5x higher than normal," according to a report cited in Nation's Restaurant News, "many of its peers have raised prices at a similar or more elevated rate." Price hikes on chicken-based menu items have risen 19% at Chipotle since 2018, which sounds pretty high until you learn that at Qdoba, the prices of similar items have gone up 21.5% and at Moe's Southwest Grill they've increased by 28.1%.

According to CNBC, inflation rose 9.1% in June of 2022. It was more than anticipated, and that also means that restaurant prices are probably going to continue rising. But, though many restaurant chains are raising their prices, experts predict that Chipotle's increases will come "at a more moderate pace than many of its peers, maintaining its value proposition." That's good news for lovers of Chipotle, but it sounds like Qdoba and Moe's customers might want to start saving their pennies.