Chipotle’s 4% price increase is really, really not a big deal

How much does a Chipotle burrito cost now? Uh, about 40 cents more.

Chipotle sign on exterior of building
Photo: Michael M. Santiago (Getty Images)

Stop the presses! Gird your loins! Batten down the hatches and rewatch John Cusack’s heart-wrenching performance in 2012, because the apocalypse is nigh. Why? Because Chipotle Mexican Grill has increased its menu prices by roughly 4% to cover the cost of raising its workers’ wages, CNBC reports.

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Just kidding. You can climb out of your bunkers now. A 4% increase isn’t so much a price hike as a very gentle price slope. Guys, we’re gonna be okay. Actually, since I just drank my coffee and downed my B12 supplement, I feel ready to do some math. My go-to order at Chipotle is a half steak, half barbacoa bowl (no guac because I’m allergic to avocado). In The Takeout’s home base of Chicago, that costs me $9.20 before tax. If the company raises menu prices by roughly 4% to provide workers with fair wages, that’ll raise the cost of my burrito bowl to approximately $9.57 before tax. I usually order roughly one burrito bowl per week, which previously cost me about $478 a year (I will not be commenting on this expenditure at this time). With the price increase, my burrito habit will cost me $497 this year, just under $20 more than last year. I’m shakin’ in my boots.

People, we knew this was coming. As CNBC reported back in May, Chipotle said that it would raise hourly wages for its restaurant workers to reach an average of $15 an hour. “It feels like the right thing, at the right time, and it feels like the industry is now going to have to either do something similar or play some kind of catch-up,” CFO Jack Hartung told investors at a virtual conference. “Otherwise you’ll just lose the staffing gain.”

Hartung was referring to the fast food industry’s staffing issues as former workers ditch the industry, unwilling to receive poverty wages for demanding jobs that put them in direct contact with the public while there’s still a pandemic going on. The wage increase is a good start for the company, and for now, Chipotle isn’t planning on further price increases. “Ingredient costs, there’s talk about it. We’ll see where that leads,” Hartung said.

Staff writer @ The Takeout, joke writer elsewhere. Wrangling dogs and pork shoulder in Chicago.

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