Chipotle CEO's Secret to Getting Bigger Portions Draws Ridicule

Brian Niccol says it only takes giving employees a look, while angry customers roll their eyes
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2024 8:51 AM CDT
Updated Jun 9, 2024 4:10 PM CDT
Chipotle CEO's Secret to Getting Bigger Portions Draws Ridicule
This 2015 file photo shows Brian Niccol, CEO of Chipotle, in New York.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol sought to calm customer complaints in denying the fast casual restaurant chain had shrunk portion sizes. But his efforts may have backfired, as the Daily Dot reports. In telling Fortune that Chipotle's portions "have not gotten smaller," Niccol noted customers could get an extra scoop of toppings simply by giving employees a disappointed look. Seeing that, "usually our guys—and women—give … a little more scoop," Niccol said. "We always want to give people big portions that get them excited about their food," he continued. "It's kind of who we are."

Not according to users who've left hundreds of complaints across social media in recent months. "I haven't been in a year," one former customer wrote on the Chipotle subreddit. "It's inconsistent, expensive, and the portions are terrible." Some called for a boycott, while others offered ideas for how to improve portion sizes. One suggestion was to film Chipotle employees as they prepared orders. According to MarketWatch, hundreds of social media users have done this "as a way to protest what they say are smaller portion sizes." A rumor circulated claiming Chipotle had instructed employees to dish out larger portion sizes to customers who were filming, but Chipotle denied that was the case.

Workers are now urging customers to stop filming them, saying it makes no difference in how much is served, per MarketWatch. But Niccol's suggestion is likely to put even more attention on workers. "I'm saving this and taking it to Chipotle," one TikTok user wrote in response to his comment about giving workers a certain look, per Forbes. "I did that little 'head nod' today and I swear I got even less food," wrote another. A third noted the suggestion would surely "haunt" Niccol, per the Daily Dot. And in a NSFW video viewed more than 2.5 million times, TikTok user Mackenzie Barmen mocked Niccol, joking that if a look didn't work, a customer need only threaten an employee with violence. (More Chipotle stories.)

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