- Chipotle is now charging $US0.25 for a side tortilla.
- The free tortilla hack has historically been one of customers’ favourite ways to get free food from the chain.
- Chipotle has been able to monitor ingredient costs and portion control more closely during the pandemic, as more people order online and via app.
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The era of the free Chipotle tortilla has come to an end.
Last week, the chain announced internally that it will no longer offer free side tortillas. As of Monday, customers will be charged $US0.25 for every side tortilla added to their orders.
Chipotle did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment on the change. The chain’s app displayed a $US0.25 charge for a side tortilla as of Monday morning.
The free side tortilla has long been one of customers’ favourite ways to get free food at the chain. Typically, a burrito bowl packs in more ingredients than a burrito â€” meaning a bowl plus a free tortilla yields more food overall.
Chipotle has been able to gather more data about its ingredient costs during the pandemic, as more people are ordering ahead via app or the chain’s website.
Chief financial officer Jack Hartung said in September that employees have been more precise in their portion control when they are preparing food ahead of time for customers. When ordering digitally, the only way for customers to receive more than the standard size is to ask â€” and pay â€” for extra.
“We’re not restricting what the customer is allowed to do, either in terms of portion or in terms of adding additional ingredients,” Hartung said at the Raymond James North American Equities Conference. “But our portion sizes are much more consistent because there’s not somebody pointing at every single pan … the crew will see just the way that a customer is looking at them and think, ‘Oh, I better put another scoop in.'”
“We’re finding things like that are resulting in better controls at the food line,” Hartung added. “We do think, certainly, because digital will be more sticky, a lot of that will stay. But we also think it’s an opportunity for us to get better execution on the front line as well as people ordering in restaurant.”
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