Chipotle CEO widely mocked for response to restaurant’s portion sizes

Chipotle CEO widely mocked for response to restaurant’s portion sizes

Chipotle’s CEO Brian Niccol has been widely mocked for his response to customer complaints that the restaurant’s portion sizes are too small.

In a TikTok video posted by Fortune last month, Niccol addressed the online criticism towards Chipotle, specifically the claims that the portions of meat and vegetables being served in bowls have shrunk. However, according to Niccol, those claims aren’t necessarily accurate, as he expressed how customers can signal when they want bigger portions of food.

“First, I can tell you the portions have not gotten smaller. One of the things I think is great about Chipotle is if you come into the restaurant, and you want a little more rice, or you want a little more pico,” he said, gesturing the shrug to the side that customers should do in this situation.

He also praised Chipotle’s workers for when they have abided by customer’s subtle requests for more food in their dish.

“And usually our guys, and women, give them a little more scoop,” he said. “We always want to give people big portions that get them excited about food. It’s kind of who we are. These are big burritos. They’re big bowls.”

Niccol once again shared Chipotle’s values, while noting that if customers want extra amounts of meat in their dishes, they have to pay an additional charge.

“Our goal is to give people great experiences,” he said. “Now if you want double the amount of meat, you’ve got to pay for it. But our goal is to get people really excited about what I believe is really delicious food.”

In the comments of the viral video, multiple people mocked Niccol’s recommendation for customers who want bigger portions.

“‘Give our employees a disappointed shrug, then they will give you more’ - Chipotle CEO,” one quipped.

“Can’t wait to see the ‘head nod’ Chipotle videos!” another added, while a third wrote: “I’m saving this and taking it to Chipotle.”

However, other viewers claimed that the portions served by Chipotle have gotten smaller, despite the fact that Niccol said this wasn’t the case.

“Chipotle portions got smaller, especially if ordered online and it doesn’t taste as good,” one claimed.

“I don’t think he has been to a Chipotle as a regular customer,” another joked about Niccol.

This isn’t the first time that the fast food chain has addressed customers’ concerns about portion sizes. In a statement shared with People last month, the chief corporate affairs and food safety officer at Chipotle, Laurie Schalow, said that “there have been no changes in [the company’s] portion sizes.” She also clarified that customers can always ask if they want more or less food, while their bowls or burritos are being made.

“Our intentions are to provide a great experience every time, and our meals have always been completely customizable so guests can vocalize or digitally select their desired portions when choosing from the list of real ingredients,” Schalow explained.

The online debate about Chipotle’s portion size first went viral in May, when food critic Keith Lee posted a viral video about his experience. In his TikTok video, he shared what he ordered from the restaurant, through the business’ app, and noted that he was not happy with the chicken bowl, due to its taste and lack of chicken in it.

“And the amount of chicken there is... there’s only like four pieces of chicken, visually,” he said, while looking down at his bowl. He also criticized the flavor of the chicken, adding: “This just tastes like honey chicken almost, there’s like no spice at all.”

The Independent has contacted a representative for Chipotle for comment.