Has Chipotle lost its cool?
People aren't recommending the fast-food chain like they used to, analysts say.
When asked whether they would recommend Chipotle, consumers increasingly answer no. The falloff in that likely-to-recommend score means Chipotle "may be losing some of its 'cool factor,'" Goldman analyst Michael Kelter said, according to StreetInsider.com.
Even worse: This falloff coincides with a decline in interest in Chipotle among younger adults.
Goldman has been seeing this for a while. Last November, analysts saw a fallback in Chipotle's brand score, Barron's reports. At the time, analysts thought it was a statistical anomaly, and they may have been right. Chipotle's brand score did indeed come back up for the first quarter of this year.
But that comeback is muted somewhat by the fact that people aren't recommending Chipotle like they used to.
Chipotle's stock price has seen an incredible run over the last four years, going from $50 at the start of 2009 to top $400 last year. But the stock has since slumped, and has flattened out recently at about $325.
Investor David Einhorn has turned against Chipotle, saying its valuation is too high and that it will lose customers to Taco Bell, owned by Yum Brands (YUM). And Taco Bell has seen a huge resurgence with American consumers after a string of smart product rollouts, including the Doritos Locos taco, which is so popular that Taco Bell had to hire 15,000 more people last year to handle the extra business, The New York Daily News reports.
I love Chipotle, but the prices are too high, the restaurants are extremely noisy, and there is never enough seating. I have had to stand and balance my tray on the ledge behind the soda fountain!
I moved to California and they are terrible. Dirty eating areas, very poor and inconsistent quality food preparation, and lazy kids working the counters. One opened last year in our small town; half of the time the steak is so undercooked it's nearly raw in the center. Also, one was so dirty (overflowing trash cans, food waste on every empty table, filthy restrooms) that my wife took pictures and e-mailed them to the company.
Why is it slipping? Pay more attention to franchise quality control at the corporate level so that every restaurant is consistently good. Until then, Chipotle loses our money.
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Do not like Chipolte at all. One recently opened in my town. It's quite small with a poor layout. The people line up along the window and loom right over the diners as they eat. There is no divider to separate the line which moves very slow. As others mentioned it is noisy and I do not like the unfinished look. There burritos tend to be more rice than anything. Moe's Burritos is way better in my opinion. They offer more choices and you get to choose the ingredients/toppings that you want. They give you free chips and several types of salsa to choose from. Also they have Queso and Southwest Sauce. I asked for Chipolte Sauce (or a spicy sauce) at Chipolte- they do not even have. Most of the Moe's in my area have the Coke Freestyle soda machine which is awesome.
The closest Chipotle to my home is a few miles away and without a car I seldom go there. While I do like their vegetarian burrito, it's expensive and is the only thing on their very limited menu that interests me, I just make my own at home, which is quick, easy, and cheaper. They need to consider adding a few more vegetarian options such as a giant tostado, chile relleno, soup, and salad. They always play loud rock music that adds to the general din of talking and cooking equipment, and I want peace and quiet while I eat. I also like to read while eating but their lighting is dim, though in good weather one can eat in their small outdoor space. Also sometimes tables are not clean. All of that diminishes enjoyment of the meal for me. I hope either Chipotle's improves or some other restaurant can take advantage of disgruntled customers who are now resorting to Taco Bell for affordable Mexican fast food.
All be dam if I ever let anyone tell me what is cool or what is not cool...what are we in Jr. high? Oh and Chipotle and Taco Bell are not even close...I eat at both but Taco Bell??...give me a break..that is not even meat and is more of the 2:00 am I am so drunk and hungry type of spot imo. ..
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