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  /  World News   /  Chipotle burrito bowl portion claims put to the test

Chipotle burrito bowl portion claims put to the test

(NEXSTAR) – With Chipotle in the crosshairs of dissatisfied content creators and customers complaining about the size of their meals, a Wall Street analyst decided to put the “weight debate” to a test.

Wells Fargo’s Zachary Fadem and his team made 75 identical burrito bowl orders spread over eight different Chipotle locations in New York City, according to Barron’s, and found a sizable range when it came to how much each meal weighed.

Fadem reported that there wasn’t a big difference between in-store and digital orders, but overall he said “consistency varied widely” with some locations dishing out far fuller bowls than others, despite the orders being the same.

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Entrepreneur reports that Fadem’s order consisted of white rice, black beans, chicken, pico de gallo, cheese and lettuce.

The average weight was 21.5 ounces, but the heaviest was 26.8 ounces, with the lightest weighing just 13.8 ounces, Fadem said.

In response to Fadem’s report, Chipotle told Nexstar that there had been no changes to portion sizes, saying in a statement:

Similar to others in the fast casual industry, our completely customizable meals may have variability in their size or weight depending upon the number of ingredients a guest selects or if they choose to make an ingredient extra or light when ordering from our list of real ingredients in-person or digitally. There have been no changes in our portion sizes, and we aim to provide a great guest experience every time.

Laurie Schalow, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Chipotle

Fadem appeared to disagree, applauding the locations for improved efficiency, but adding “order consistency remains an opportunity.”

Many on social media applauded Fadem’s report, even calling for a “conference for this kind of ‘pedestrian’ research that actually impacts people’s lives,” while others just wanted a map showing the locations that were “hooking it up.”

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In recent months, complaints about alleged portion inconsistency have surged online, with one TikTok influencer named Keith Lee, whose own quesadilla “hack” was even added to Chipotle menus, calling out the company in a widely-viewed video.

“Where’s the chicken?” Lee asks while combing through the “freezing cold” burrito bowl.

The online backlash forced Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol to address the issue publicly in a May interview with Fortune, saying that “portions have not gotten smaller.” He also suggested that customers can simply give their server a look — which he demonstrated — if they “want a little more rice” or “want a little more pico.”

“And usually our guys, and women, give [customers] a little more scoop,” Niccol said.

Niccol did, however, make it clear that “if you want double the amount of meat, you’ll have to pay for it.”

Nexstar’s Ashleigh Jackson contributed to this report.