We Started the Fire: A Thorough Investigation of the Chipotle Quesarito Urban Legend
|Without utensils, this quesarito would have basically been inedible.|
"The mythic quesarito doesn't exist anywhere," he says. "It's not on our menu, it's not in our training materials, it does not exist anywhere in our system. If it were up to me, the quesarito as a specific item -- I would love to see it go away."
Then he adds, "What I would love to continue is a culture where our employees are really taught to accommodate the requests of our customers."
Arnold says the primary problem with the quesarito for Chipotle is that because it's not a real (or even secret) menu item and because employees aren't trained to make it uniformly like other options, there's no way to guarantee quality, taste or customer satisfaction.
"Because we don't have this, what happens when you see things like the Fast Company article is this sort of little, short-term surge in people ordering this and our restaurant saying, 'I don't know what you're talking about,'" Arnold says. "There is no Chipotle secret menu or common vocabulary the way there is with, say, an In-N-Out Burger, where ordering something 'animal style' means something. So people will go in and say, 'I want a quesarito' or some other thing that is an Internet myth or legend, and they may well be met with blank stares.
"Our focus is on making the best-tasting food we can, but based on the ingredients we have, we'll accommodate most anything our customers request."
And that's reasonable. Because according to Arnold, there are more than 65,000 ways customers can combine Chipotle ingredients to make unique dishes. In fact, he says, the burrito bowl was added to Chipotle's menu because of customer demand.
"In the beginning we only had tacos and burritos on the menu, and people asked for bowls. We'd line the baskets with foil and make a burrito bowl, and it was happening enough that we decided to get a bowl and make them more efficiently without lining and losing baskets," he explains, sounding strangely biblical.
"People would put lettuce on the bottom and make salads, so we made a vinaigrette so you could actually make it more like a salad. Going back to the earliest days of Chipotle, we've always tried to accommodate those kinds of requests."
Essentially Chipotle's customer service and customizable menu is a lot like what Burger King has promoted since the early 1970s with its "Have It Your Way" ethos -- though when it comes to the quesarito, perhaps it's more like: "You can have it your way, but don't go crazy."
212 S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, MO