Fast-casual burrito giant Chipotle is charging a little more for its menu items that contain beef. Citing "continually rising beef prices," the mega-chain is charging 4 to 6 percent more for its steak and barbacoa burritos, bowls, tacos, and salads. The new pricing takes effect at locations nationwide, Chipotle communications director Chris Arnold confirmed in an email conversation with Eater.
Chipotle's menu has been picking up buzz lately. The chain recently increased prices across the board at San Francisco locations to correspond with the city's minimum wage hike. However, Arnold said this increase is strictly related to the rising beef market and is not labor related. He explained that minimum wage increases don't necessarily mean higher menu prices.
"I might note on the [San Francisco] increase that, had our overall cost structure been different there — that is to say that if our occupancy costs weren't double our national average and/or our prices not about our average — we may not have had to raise prices," Arnold said. "The pricing model takes into consideration all of our costs — occupancy/building costs, food, labor, and the like. An increase in any of those areas isn't automatically going to necessitate a price increase; it's when the equation gets out of balance that we'll look to raise prices.
"Last year, for example, was the first time in three years that we raised prices in our restaurants, and that's in spite of persistent food inflation in the preceding years."
Another recent Chipotle tidbit of note is the company's official recognition of the "quesarito," the popular off-menu item that features burrito fillings wrapped up in a quesadilla. The dish, which previously came at the same price as other burritos at many Chipotle locations, now costs an extra $3.50 over regular burrito prices.