New Data Reveals Chipotle Is 10% Cheaper Than Its Competitors

In case you — or your wallet — hadn't noticed, we're living through an era of rampant inflation, and one result of that is that food prices — particularly those of meat, dairy, flour, and fresh fruits and vegetables — have skyrocketed. According to CNN, factors such as weather irregularities affecting crop harvests as well as the Russian invasion of Ukraine — with both countries major exporters of wheat to the global market — have contributed to these price surges. In response to the largest annual increase of food prices in 41 years (via CNN), shoppers are modifying their habits in various ways, such as choosing store brand items instead of practicing loyalty to more expensive brands as many once did.

And of course, higher food prices at stores necessarily imply higher bills at restaurants, too. Restaurant Business Online reported in May that prices at full-service restaurants increased 0.9% between March and April, and that fast-food prices are up 7% year over year. As a result, people are looking for cheaper ways to eat out, even opting for convenience store-prepared food items as a way to cut costs (via Bluedot). People are also comparing prices at major fast food restaurants in order to cost-effectively grab a burger or some fried chicken, and for those diners, new data shows that fast-casual favorite Chipotle could be one of the best places to save a buck or two.

Chipotle menu prices remain about 10% lower than its competitors'

If you've ever eaten at Chipotle, then you know that the chain is beloved for tasty offerings such as burritos, tacos, nachos, and — of course — its often-imitated guacamole (via Chipotle). Similar dishes are found at Chipotle competitors Qdoba and Moe's Southwest Grill, but if you're craving some Mexican or Tex-Mex eats, Chipotle is substantially easier on the wallet than those chains, according to new data.

Restaurant Dive reports that a new survey conducted by global financial services firm BTIG reveals that in spite of rising food costs, Chipotle's menu remains 10.7% cheaper than Qdoba's and 9.2% cheaper than Moe's — this in spite of Chipotle raising its menu prices by more than 4% in Q1 this year. On chicken items, for example, Qdoba raised prices by 21.5% and Moe's bumped theirs up by 28.1%, At Chipotle, chicken dish prices have gone up by only 19%. Similarly, with steak dishes, Qdoba shot up prices y prices by 25.8% and Moe's by 32.8%. Chipotle, however, only increased theirs by 23%.

The value that Chipotle represents is likely a big reason why the chain's store visits aren't suffering in spite of inflation, with reporting that Chipotle visits increased by over 17% the first week of June — in spite of gas prices reaching an all-time high that month, according to AAA. So if you're craving a burrito bowl, your local Chipotle might be the most economical option in town.