From the moment Qdoba made its debut in my town, I've been a believer. It was my go-to place and I would crave it periodically. This past summer, their arch rival, Chipotle, did a summer promotion that one of my employees participated in to earn us free catering at the office. In an effort to help him achieve the bazillion burritos he needed to eat over the course of three months, some of us helped by using his rewards card and visiting Chipotle.
Although I felt like a traitor walking into the restaurant, I have to say I really liked their food. This caused me to ponder about my newfound love of Chipotle and my obvious betrayal of Qdoba. Why did I like one more than the other? And if I could do a pros and cons, who would win?
Chipotle's pros are fresh ingredients. I honestly "feel" better after eating Chipotle and not so blech as I do often with Qdoba. The food is cheaper at Chipotle (at least what I get) than for the same thing at Qdoba. And Chipotle has Coke Zero, so that's a win.
On the con side, Chipotle's chips are stored in a bag pre-scooped. Ick. They just don't maintain that same freshness as the chips freshly scooped at Qdoba. The atmosphere at Chipotle leaves something to be desired. I definitely don't find dining in there pleasing at all. It's like a warehouse break room or a take off on a steam punk casual dining establishment. To go orders are my preference at Chipotle.
Qdoba, being my first love, has a lot more variety on their menu...plus queso, which is sorely missing at Chipotle. They have Coke Zero and 100 other options with their Coke Freestyle machine, which is a positive. Qdoba's chips are fresh and often even warm making everything yummier when scooped up with a warm tortilla chip. And dining in there is a much more pleasant experience than at Chipotle.
The cons for Qdoba are their prices - slightly higher - and the food - not counting the chips - isn't as fresh. Overall, though they are reinventing themselves regularly with new offerings so they do move further away from a direct competitor - or a mirrored competitor with Chipotle.
The jury is still out. I like them both for different reasons. I suppose I need to create a Qupotle restaurant and everyone is happy.