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Skimping on scoops? Chipotle reacts to walk-out boycott trend

Posted 6/6/24

FLEMING ISLAND – Hundreds of videos on TikTok and Instagram have gone viral for participating in the Chipotle walk-out trend, a boycott protesting smaller portion sizes and higher prices from the …

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Skimping on scoops? Chipotle reacts to walk-out boycott trend


Posted

FLEMING ISLAND – Hundreds of videos on TikTok and Instagram have gone viral for participating in the Chipotle walk-out trend, a boycott protesting smaller portion sizes and higher prices from the international Mexican food chain.

Here is a hypothetical example of how the walk-out boycott plays out:

The customer enters the Chipotle line equipped with a phone to record a video. The customer places an order like usual – a scoop of rice, a scoop of beans and a scoop of protein. The customer keeps the camera rolling. If the customer is unsatisfied with the portion sizes, they walk out of the restaurant without taking the bowl or paying for it.

The scoop of protein, chicken or steak, is the most contentious, with many customers online accusing Chipotle of “skimping on the scoop.” While customers can ask for additional beans and rice for free, they are charged for asking for an additional scoop of protein.

Customers have argued that first scoop of protein has gotten smaller over time – a tangible example of “shrinkflation,” the silent macroeconomic trend of businesses reducing the amount of goods served while maintaining or raising prices.

“The Chipotle worker acts like the portions come out of his paycheck,” one TikTok user said.

“If the portion sizes aren’t top tier, walk out,” another said.

Some self-identified Chipotle workers online have claimed a recent corporate mandate has urged workers to appease videographers with an extra-hearty-sized scoop in order to avoid bad press.

This claim has not been substantiated but online food content creators have dubbed the boycott a success.

“As I (pulled out my phone), I see the employees look at each other and they gave me the biggest servings I have ever seen in years,” one TikTok user said.

Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol denied the shrinkflation accusations in an interview with Fortune.

“Portions have not gotten smaller,” Niccol said.

“The whole thing is a little silly. It actually kind of bums me out when people do this videoing thing because it’s a little rude to our team members,” Niccol said in an interview with CNBC.

While the boycott began with reasonable grievances, the trend is teetering on the edge of anarchy. Content creators hungrier for views than a meal arrive to Chipotle with cameras rolling, make a comical scene and walk out regardless of adequate service or not.

A Chipotle supervisor at the Fleming Island location, who wished to remain unidentified, was unaware of the walk-out trend. The supervisor spoke to Clay Today confidentially and appeared apprehensive. To the supervisors knowledge, the trend has not yet happened at the Fleming Island location.

“The higher ups come down on us because of portion sizes. When people walk out, it’s a waste of food,” said the supervisor. “People say we skimp on them. We just do our job. If they walk out, it’s messed up. If they do try it here, I would not entertain them.”