Skip to content

8 Secrets Chipotle Doesn't Want You to Know

Burritos aren’t the only thing they’re keeping wrapped up.

Almost three decades ago in In Denver, Colo., a legend was born. A Tex-Mex legend, that is. Chipotle, the chain restaurant that now dominates the burrito scene, got its start in the middle of the country in 1993.

Originally, its founder was hoping to sell 107 burritos a day. Just enough to turn a profit. Today, with over 2,700 locations, the brand has far exceeded those initial expectations.

And while Chipotle undoubtedly dominates the grab-n-go burrito scene, the chain's trajectory has not been entirely unfettered. Even now, although the brand seems very outwardly public, there are a few things they're keeping on the DL.

Read on to uncover the things that don't make it on the "Chicotle" Twitter feed.

For more fast-food news, check out 8 Worst Fast-Food Burgers to Stay Away From Right Now.


Chipotle's portion sizes are shrinking


Chipotle's onto us, and our sneaky, at-the-counter pleas for "just a little more of that." With the uptick in digital orders that the pandemic has brought on, the brand realized that saving on their bottom line could be as simple as just making portion sizes strictly consistent—and smaller than what most of us might ask for when visiting the store.


The tortillas aren't free anymore

chipotle flour tortilla
Courtesy of Chipotle

You may remember that before the pandemic, you'd be able to get a burrito bowl with a free tortilla on the side. Well, those days are over—the chain started charging $0.25 cents per tortilla in the fall of 2020.


A major new item was met with criticism

chipotle smoked brisket
Courtesy of Chipotle

The chain's limited-time brisket rollout was much anticipated among fans. And while it wasn't unsuccessful, per se, the new protein definitely wasn't an unequivocal win. A common opinion among those who tried it was that it was too dry. Don't worry, though, the brand can always R&D a little more moisture, as the brisket was met with enough positive feedback that it's sure to make a comeback.


It's easy to max out your fat intake for the day by ordering a common burrito

chipotle burrito
Kaley Roberts/ Eat This, Not That!

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you must know: that innocuous-seeming carnitas burrito, with brown rice and guac, contains 49 grams of fat (not to mention its 970 calories and 94 grams of carbohydrates). That is very much within the range of how much fat a person is recommended to consume for a whole day (44 to 77 grams) so proceed with caution.


The company is paying workers more at your expense


On the plus side: Chipotle is paying its workers more. Seeing as service jobs have gotten remarkably riskier and more difficult during the pandemic, this shift is undoubtedly a great thing. However, instead of arriving at the new pay scale by shifting funds from the top, the brand simply raised its menu prices by 4%.


The chain has struggled with rats


In December 2020, a Chipotle location in New York City closed down after several workers were bitten by rats. The final breaking point didn't come, though, until the workers literally could not fulfill the orders anymore—the rats chewed through the computer wiring that was attached to the store's ordering system.


And labor laws

chipotle exterior

Less than six months after rat-gate, Chipotle found itself in hot water once again with the city of New York: this time, for violating labor laws. Allegedly, the chain was adjusting workers' schedules at the last minute, demanding they cover back-to-back shifts, and violating paid sick leave standards. According to the lawsuit brought forth by the city, between April 2014 and January 2020, the chain only granted 24 hours of sick time per year, instead of the mandated 40.


And is prone to foodborne illness outbreaks

chipotle workers

No fast-food brand is immune to occasional slips in food safety standards, especially when operating thousands of locations across the country. But when it comes to major cases of food poisoning, no other national fast-food chain has been in the spotlight quite as often as Chipotle.

The chain's wholesome, health-forward reputation took a major downturn when a series of foodborne illness outbreaks caused by Norovirus, Salmonella, and E. coli sickened more than 1,100 people between 2015 and 2018. The company's negligent attitude toward maintaining health standards was serious enough to warrant criminal charges—the Justice Department charged Chipotle with violating federal law by adulterating food.

RELATED: 11 Secrets Texas Roadhouse Doesn't Want You to Know

Kaley Roberts
Kaley Roberts is a food writer. Read more about Kaley