What is behind TikTok’s beef with Chipotle Mexican Grill?

1 month ago 468

Updated

Jun 18, 2024, 01:30 PM

Published

Jun 18, 2024, 01:30 PM

UNITED STATES – When Chipotle Mexican Grill started rolling out across the United States over two decades ago, food writers were astonished at the restaurant’s portion sizes.

“Behemoth California creations,” The New York Times wrote in 2003 of the chain’s signature offering, the burrito.

So big that “it takes a little practice to handle one”, went a 2002 article in The Washington Post, which compared the size of a Chipotle burrito with that of a human head.

But times have changed, and so have the critics – they are all on social media.

Now, a crop of young customers insists they are not getting enough food in their orders, and they are whipping out their phones to prove it.

Over the past month, TikTok users have devised a variety of viral tactics to protest what they say are skimpy portions from a chain known for dispensing guacamole-covered mountains of carbs and protein.

These include walking out of the restaurant without paying if they feel they have been short-changed, and filming workers under the theory that surveillance leads to more rice, beans and steak.

Their claims are anecdotal and occasionally conspiratorial. But they are widespread enough that Chipotle has felt compelled to respond.

“There have been no changes in our portion sizes, and we have reinforced proper portioning with our employees,” Ms Laurie Schalow, the company’s chief of corporate affairs and food safety, said in a statement.

On May 3, TikTok food critic Keith Lee published a review of Chipotle to his 16 million followers, in which he estimated that his US$12 (S$16) bowl included only “four pieces of chicken, visually”.

The same day, influencer Drew Po...

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