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I remember when the first Chipotle opened up in my neighborhood. It was quite a novelty. Burritos so large you could stand them up on end. The restaurants were unique and you could make your burrito however you liked.
For years, I was a Chipotle-frequenter.
Then, on a road-trip out West, I discovered another burrito joint called Qdoba. I was hooked. They offered similar menu items to Chipotle, but I found the food tastier – with their unique queso sauces and (seemingly) fresher ingredients.
While Chipotle and Qdoba are very similar in taste – there are some reasons that I think Qdoba is better than Chipotle and will ultimately save you more money.
A look at their prices
Chipotle and Qdoba offer online ordering – which is a great service if you don’t want to wait in their (oftentimes) long lunch lines.
Taking a look at their prices online and in my area (Minneapolis) – let’s see how they match up on a chicken burrito.
|Chipotle Chicken Burrito||Qdoba Chicken Burrito|
|White Rice, Pinto Beans, Cheese, Fresh Tomato Salsa, Guacamole, Lettuce||Cilantro Rice, Pinto Beans,
Pico de Gallo Salsa (mild),
Cheese, Shredded Lettuce,
Add Guacamole, Add 3-Cheese Queso Diablo
So, on price at least, Qdoba beats Chipotle by .24 cents on a popular menu item – the wrapped chicken burrito. Keep in mind that Qdoba offers all the “extras” for free – so you could really load up your burrito with queso and quacamole to boot!
Here’s another menu item that folks tend to order a lot of: chips and salsa. Let’s see how they stack up there:
|Chipotle Chips and Salsa||Qdoba Chips and Salsa|
|Chips & Fresh Tomato Salsa||Chips with your choice of salsa|
Even with getting beat on chips and salsa, Qdoba is still up on price by .18 cents.
Note: The one menu item where Chipotle beats Qdoba on price is on their veggie burrito bowls. Chipotle offers this for $7.22 (which comes with free guacamole), while Qdoba gets beat quite handedly at $8.66.
How you can really save money at Qdoba
With Qdoba being easier on your wallet than Chipotle, they offer other ways to save with them (which I really appreciate).
This reward program is something that Chipotle lacks.
Going back to an earlier post about how I purchase discounted gift cards to save money on things I routinely purchase, I’ve gotten Qdoba cards for 8-10% off their face value. Add that on top of my free entree every 10th purchase, and that is even more savings. (AND purchase this online with a Discover card – that routinely offers 3-5% back on online buys – and you can do even better!)
Lastly, Qdoba offers its email subscribers birthday bonuses as well as other freebies off/on just by being on their list. The only freebie’s I’ve gotten from Chipotle was when I dressed up in tin foil for Halloween.
All this said – I think Qdoba tastes better AND saves me more money than Chipotle.
What are your thoughts? Do you prefer one over the other?
Update 4/28/2016: Kudos to Chipotle who has finally had to relent to creating a rewards program similar to what Qdoba has. It’s too bad they couldn’t have instituted this earlier and not been forced to after slumping sales.
Update 7/21/2106: With Chipotle’s new reward program called Chiptopia – you may be able to earn rewards at a faster rate than Qdoba’s. Here’s more info about Chiptopia and to sign up (if you wish to go to the dark side)
Update 12/5/2016: Qdoba started their new revamped Rewards program today. Many current members will receive 1400 point that go towards free entrees. After the first initial look at the program – it appears to be a little bit of a downgrade for customers. You’ll need to make a quite a few purchases for that free entree – but you will get different perks / with the ability to choose what you want after just a few visits (usually smaller items). Also the more you visit, the faster you earn reward points.
Update 9/13/2017: Chipotle announced it is now offering queso. This could be a game-changer in the who is better, Chipotle or Qdoba. Apparently, the queso leaves a bit to be desired.
Update 1/30/2018: After a visit to the competition, here’s a look at my total bill from Chipotle (w/ tax). Too much!