Chipotle vs. the Burrito Snobs

A blog about business and economics.
Feb. 11 2012 10:15 AM

Chipotle vs. the Burrito Snobs

I got a variety of responses to my Chipotle piece of which the least-persuasive is the Yelp of the Bay Area Burrito Snobs who wish to inform me that Chipotle's burritos are but a pale imitation of the finest in Mission District burrito offerings. I am not an expert in such matters but am happy to concede that I had a better-than-Chipotle burrito last time I was in San Francisco.

But this is completely irrelevant. I don't know why it is that no beloved Bay Area taquerias have become Patient Zero for a major national chain with a publicly traded stock, an international expansion under way, and an ambitious proposal to launch a second restaurant concept but the fact of the matter is that they haven't. Instead, it's Steve Ells and his Chipotle Mexican Grill from Denver, Colo., that have done that. The issue is to compare Chipotle to other substantial national food service chains. My claim is that it represents a leading edge of a trend toward offering a higher price/quality point in a fast casual setting. Five Guys (as noted in the article) is another great example of this, but since it's privately held there's less information available about it. I'm also an enthusiastic booster of the smaller salad-oriented chains Chopt and Mixt Greens, both of which I think have a lot of promise.


Loving unique local restaurants is great, but in life it's ideas that scale up that change the world.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.



Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.

Why all cracker names sound alike.

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Afghan Town With a Legitimately Good Tourism Pitch

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
Future Tense
Sept. 21 2014 11:38 PM “Welcome to the War of Tomorrow” How Futurama’s writers depicted asymmetrical warfare.
  Health & Science
The Good Word
Sept. 21 2014 11:44 PM Does This Name Make Me Sound High-Fat? Why it just seems so right to call a cracker “Cheez-It.”
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.