How to Really Save Money at Chipotle

Chipotle-Money-Saving-tipsThis post was inspired by an article I read the other day entitled: 15 Ways to Save Money at Chipotle. Now I don’t want to throw another blog under the bus, but man were their ideas lame(google the article title to find it).  I’ve actually been obsessed with Chipotle for a while now and I even read the book The Chipotle Effect because I just love the place so damn much.

In college, my friends and I stopped at Chipotle at least 1-2 times a week for dinner for three years straight, so I consider myself something of a Chipotle expert :) We were on a budget and after a long day of school, and three hour volleyball practice, the thought of going home and making dinner sounded like way too much work. There was really no better value for the quantity and quality we could get at Chipotle.

After years of trial and error, I think I’ve found some of the best ways to maximize your dollar at Chipotle. Even though Chipotle is was owned by McDonald’s they are still one of my favorite restaurant(fast food?) chains. I didn’t eat Chipotle for a solid two years after I graduated because I was so burnt out, but now I eat there about once or twice a month. I don’t eat there as much as I used to, but I still employ some of the following tips and tricks to help save myself some money and get more bang for my buck.

Get a Burrito Bowl

This one should be obvious, but have you seen the burrito bowls at Chipotle? They are freaking huge! Load up a bowl with everything you want and you’ll definitely get more than a regular burrito. The bowl and the burrito are the same price so this is a no brainer. What we used to do is ask for a tortilla on the side with our bowl(which is free) and make a burrito ourselves and still have some leftovers in the bowl. Alternatively you can get free taco shells or 3 mini tacos with your bowl if you ask nicely.

Half and Half

I like everything at Chipotle so I ask for everything on my burrito, literally. Ask for white and brown rice, pinto and black beans, and you’ll get more than a normal portion. Sometimes I even ask for half and half meat since they tend to give you a little extra. I also load up on salsas: medium, hot, mild and corn salsa. These are all free although they might look at you funny.

Extra, Pretty Please?

Chipotle has a strict policy against giving out extra meat, so I never ask for it. But you can ask nicely for a little extra of anything else. A little trick I use is to wait until they put the item on before asking for more. So if they ask me if I want sour cream, I’ll say yes and once they put it on, I ask for a little extra.

Bust the Burrito!

If you can get enough stuff in your burrito to make it impossible to roll, they’ll add another tortilla for you. I usually go for the bowl, but this is a good way to get two mini burritos for the price of one.

Free Burrito on Halloween

If you stay in touch with Chipotle via social media you’ll hear about their occasional free burrito days. Their most famous one is on Halloween, where you get a free burrito if you dress up like a burrito. We used to just take some aluminum foil and wrap it around one of our arms and they’d give us a free burrito.

Gift Card Deals

Once in a while, they’ll have a gift card promo where you get a free burrito for buying a $25 gift card. If you manage to get a hold of a free burrito coupon or stumble upon a free burrito day, you should be able to turn this into a free $10 burrito. I wouldn’t go this far with the add-ons since they are treating you to a free burrito, but don’t be shy about asking for extra guac or double meat.

Mix It Up

This one won’t save you money, but I like to ask them to mix up the bowl or burrito so that all my bites will be evenly mixed and I won’t eat any huge chunks of one element.Beware though, they might shoot you a dirty look if you ask for a mixture because this request will usually start a chain reaction of mixture requests from the people behind you.

A Final Word

Now these tips won’t help you retire early or anything but if you have a big appetite(like I used to!) you can get absolutely stuffed off of less than $7. I think that’s a great deal and I don’t know how healthy Chipotle is but it’s gotta be better than eating fried fast food like KFC or McDonald’s. I also get a weird sense of satisfaction knowing that I got the most out of my money. I know Chipotle is still making a ton of money so if I can get a little extra food, great.

Readers, do you have any tips or tricks that you use at Chipotle? Are there any other restaurants that you have money saving tips for?

-Harry @ PF Pro

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Hi, I'm Harry, the owner and head writer for Your PF Pro. I started this site back in 2011 in order to create a place where young professionals could come and get all of their financial questions answered. On the site, you'll find articles on everything from asset allocation for retirement to saving money at Chipotle! So enjoy..

Comments

    • says

      That is outrageous! If they weren’t privately owned, I’d invest all my money opening one up there. I literally don’t even remember the last place I went out of state that didn’t have Chipotle.

  1. Linzay says

    hahah Harry this is the weirdest post you have ever written, but I love Chipotle!!!!!!! I might use your half and half trick :)

  2. says

    I love Chipotle and I love this post. I usually go with half steak and half barbacoa on my burrito bowl. The guac is always so dam expensive. I also always ask for a tortilla on the side so I can made mini burritos with my bowl.

  3. Ian says

    hey cuz,
    I have used similar tricks. If you ask for extra rice, then extra beans, (like you said, after they have already added the first portion), then when they get to the meat, they normally add extra because they’re basically eyeballing it anyways.

    Also, nutrition calculator:
    http://www.chipotle.com/en-us/menu/nutrition_calculator/nutrition_calculator.aspx

    This took me about 15 seconds to find, so you’re a lazy fatass (but then you’re posting online about how to stuff your face, so go figure).

    But for what I normally get, their website says almost 1k calories, and assuming my/your sneaky tricks would increase this at least 20%, so you’re getting a good 12-1300 calories per burrito. Good eatin.

    Love you bud,
    Ian

  4. ryan says

    Chipotle rocks! There are quite a few here in Chicago, including one two blocks away from my apartment. It’s hard to resist! BTW, Chipotle is no longer owned by McDonald’s.

    • says

      Haha yea I know. I really wanted to invest in one but I think they’re privately owned. Good to know they’re no longer owned by McDonald’s. I don’t like mcds because their food tastes like crap haha

  5. Matt says

    Another way to make money with Chipotle is to short their stock right after David Einhorn releases info that he bought 50,000 puts, but before the Value Investing Congress meeting :)

    Also, are you sure they’re owned by McDonalds?

    I’ve never had Chipotle, but with all of the fuss about it, and after reading this article, I’m gonna give it a shot!

  6. mak says

    Uh, yeah. So, when you ask for half white half brown rice or beans or etc..they just give you half of a normal portion of each. You don’t get any extra anything when it comes to that. Anyway, tortillas are free at chipotle..you can order a bowl with a tortilla on the side and it’ll be free..no need to bust your burrito open.

    • says

      I don’t know about that man. I’d have to disagree with you big time, especially when you order a burrito bowl. When I ask for half and half they won’t put a full scoop of each, but it’s definitely more than half. Rice and beans are cheap, they don’t care how much they give you of that stuff and by the time your bowl gets to the meat station it will be so massive they subconsciously put a little extra meat since they are used to seeing certain ratios. The last time I used this trick, it was enough for 3 meals for me. I’m also very courteous and playful with the employees so maybe they hook it up with a little extra!

  7. john doe says

    I like to term people like you “more meaters.” More meaters are a tunnel visioned breed, unable to properly identify the consequences of their self centered actions. Let me put it this way. Chipotle serves more then 1,000,000 people a day. If everyone took your advice and got “extras” let’s just use meat, say 1 ounce, that would be 1,000,000 ounces of extra meat given by Chiptole, and I use the word given in the most charitable sense, being that this would be an uncharged 1,000,000 ounces of extra meat or 62,500 lbs which computes to roughly 800,000 dollars a day. Are we ready for the big number? This “extra” meat would cost the chipotle franchise a devastating 292,000,000 dollars a year and all just from hungry John who wants a little extra then his counterpart. This total does not include additional toppings that your article says you can get extra. The moral of the story is that we have unfortunate individuals like yourself who concentrate about nothing else but themselves and fail to understand the repercussions of their thoughtless actions. and wait! I can even prove it.. While reading this you’ve been chuckling in your mind or maybe out loud and saying to yourself…this guy’s an idiot….But this guy… owns 10 chipotles and your the one asking for more meat.

    • says

      Haha thanks for the comment, if you think I’m bad you should go check out what some of the users on slickdeals do. I don’t think Chipotle is hurting too much from giving out a little extra meat though, take a look at their stock price the last few years. Did you ever think about the fact that if Chipotle didn’t give out extras then maybe all those people like me might go somewhere else instead? Then your ’10′ Chipotles might not be doing too hot.

    • Steve says

      TL;DR: Guy is upset because he “owns 10 Chipotles”, and asking for more meat is “self-centered” because it cuts into his profits. Uses absolute worst case scenario with inflated numbers to make his point. Finishes by insulting a straw man.

      • says

        Haha, I guess my blog is doing better than I thought if I’ve got a guy who own 10 Chipotles reading it and coming to me for advice. Maybe I should start charging for my services?? :

        • Steve says

          No kidding!

          Actually, let’s find out where his 10 Chipotles are and eat there. He claims his meat costs ~$13/lb, so he must be serving some premium cuts!

          I just love how oblivious he is to the irony of his comments: “…we have unfortunate individuals like yourself who concentrate about nothing else but themselves and fail to understand the repercussions of their thoughtless actions.” The only “repercussion” in his exaggerated scenario was a decrease in profit for Chipotle (and therefore, him). Talk about self-centered…

          In any case, thanks for the article. I enjoyed it, even if I’m a bit late to the game.

  8. deve campbell says

    Hey PFPro – absolutely my favorite post of all times! I loved the story about wrapping your arm in aluminum foil on Halloween. I’ll be laughing about this all day! I gotta try that. Maybe I’ll get my son to try – I don’t think I have the nerve.

    and John Doe w/ his 10 Chipotle franchises? You gotta love that guy! More Meaters of the world Unite – you have nothing to lose but your waistlines.

    • says

      Haha thanks, unfortunately I can’t really employ many of these tactics anymore. I can’t eat like I used to and I definitely don’t work out as much as I used to in college.

  9. says

    Your facts about the ownership are somewhat outdated.

    It’s publicly traded. It is NOT a private company. It went public in January 2006, and trades on the New York Stock Exchange.

    MCD fully divested (completely sold) their investment in Chipotle Mexican Grill in 2006. They initially invested $360 million and sold their shares for $1.5B.
    hungry hungry artist (@blerghhh) recently posted…Long overdue post – Why do I invest?My Profile

  10. becca says

    Hey guys. I didn’t read the above for comments, but chipotle is not owned by McDonald’s. I work for chipotle. If you don’t believe feel free to look it up. also to the blog, as an manager of chipotle and employee for over 2 years it is easier when a customer asks for extra in the beginning not after you put it on because then you’re not onto the next thing. Also the side cups are the same portions we train to put on the food item so if you like a ton of sour cream and we can’t roll your burrito you can get as much sour cream on the side as you want. Asking for it to be double wrapped is much easier though if you’re planning it it breaking because again it doens’t cost any extra.

    • says

      Thanks for commenting Becca, yea I think we’re all in agreement now that they’re no longer owned by McDonald’s. My burritos always seem to explode so maybe I’ll just ask for double wrap right from the start. I also like your idea of asking for side cups :)

  11. says

    I always get the bowl at Chipotle, it’s the best deal. I say no rice at times and ask for extra beans. It’s a healthier option for people who want to live a low carb lifestyle. Another tip is to alternative between competitors; on certain nights Moe’s has a buy one burrito get one free. So on those days when money is tight go their instead. Fun Post.
    EL @ Moneywatch101 recently posted…The Investing RulesMy Profile

    • says

      Yea bowl is definitely the way to go. I’m Asian so I have to get the rice haha but yea all beans is the way to go for low carbs. I’ve never been to a Moe’s before – not sure they’re around in SoCal but I’ll keep my eye out.

      Btw, lately I’ve been loading up a burrito and asking for a double wrap, almost as much as a bowl but two tortillas too.

    • says

      Ah nice that’s a good idea, Chipotle burritos actually taste surprisingly good the next day. I usually wrap the leftover burrito in a moist paper towel and zap it in the microwave. Kind of like a bowl of chili, the flavors marinate overnight I guess haha.

      This year the burrito was $2 or $3 but they donated the money to charity and you could dress up as anyone/anything. My fiancee and I just put on a couple Lakers jerseys and had an awesome meal for $6!

  12. Bob Dylan says

    Why would you ask them to mix your burrito bowl for you…? Couldn’t you just mix it yourself?

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