Competition and burritos

Story by Tyler Hart, Op / Ed Editor

After weeks of hype and a busy opening weekend, Chipotle Mexican Grill is finally settling into Eau Claire’s south side.
The restaurant, located next to Oakwood Mall, has drawn large crowds every afternoon and evening since its opening last week, said Marshal Carver, a junior English major who has been there three times.

Carver was fine with the half hour wait when he purchased a burrito last week, and said he prefers Chipotle over other options, like Burrachos Mexican Grill.

“I’m biased because I grew up with it,” Carver said. “We didn’t have Burrachos in Minnesota.”

With over 1,200 locations worldwide, the popular chain has opened its doors in Eau Claire. Chipotle is considered a “fast casual” dining experience, meaning they make all of their food to order, but they are still quicker than the average cook-to-order restaurant.

An important aspect of Chipotle’s business plan is their mission statement. They make sure that their meat is 100 percent naturally raised, and they acquire organic vegetables as often as possible, according to their web site.

Shaina Weatherhead, a junior mass communication advertising major, said that is the reason she started eating there in the
first place.

“I think that’s a great business ploy, and it got me there when I first heard of it,” Weatherhead said.

Junior Madison Clinton had similar sentiments. “That’s the reason I got into (Chipotle),” Clinton said. She also said that it can be pricey, but it’s worth the splurge.

But some people aren’t all about the mission statement. Carver said he’s not particularly affected by the all-natural
approach, but he loves the food.

“I’m full after ten bucks and I’m happy about that,” said Carver, whose favorite item on the menu is a barbacoa burrito with double meat.

Chipotle’s main competitor in Eau Claire, Burrachos, has two locations. One is on the south side of town near Chipotle, and the other is on Water Street. Weatherhead thought that Chipotle would draw a lot of business away from the south side Burrachos.

“When people think of a burrito, they will be thinking about Chipotle and not Burrachos,” Weatherhead said.

As a matter of fact, after its opening, Chipotle actually ran out of meat because demand for the burritos was so high, said Weatherhead.

Clinton agreed that it would hurt south side business, but she thinks that the Water Street Burracho’s will be fine.

“(Chipotle) will hurt Burracho’s for now, but not in the long run,” Clinton said. “People are all going out there to check it out, but once they realize how far away it is they’ll be going back to Burracho’s.”