Yesterday, famed short-seller David Einhorn told a room full of money managers and curious journalists that he was shorting Chipotle.
The world shook.
Part of Einhorn’s reasoning for the short was that Taco Bell had created a cheaper, higher quality menu called the ‘Cantina Bell Menu’ that was eating up Chipotle’s market share.
Not only that, he explained, but people are changing their opinion of Taco Bell’s brand because of the Cantina Bell menu (even David likes it every now and then).
If you don’t believe Einhorn, though, we’ve got the data right here, and it backs him up. According to YouGov BrandIndex, a daily consumer perception research service, consumers’ perception of Taco Bell has improved dramatically since July, when the Cantina Bell Menu was introduced.
YouGov polls 5,000 consumers every weekday. In this case they asked adults 18 and over who had eaten at a Mexican restaurant in the past month.
When the Cantina menu was introduced in early July, Taco Bell’s quality score with Mexican food eaters sat at 14, while Chipotle was more than twice that score at 32 and the top national QSR sector was several points ahead at 21.
Fast forward to October 1st: Taco Bell’s quality score is now 25, even with the top national QSR sector, while Chipotle is only a few points higher at 28.
Here’s a chart of the data. The QSR is an average of respondents’ perceptions of the top national quick service restaurants (McDonald’s, KFC, Papa John’s etc.):
Photo: YouGov BrandIndex