Chipotle Takes on Qdoba

Competition is heating up in Puyallup; the new Chipotle seeming to burn the older Qdoba. Puyallup’s food industry is at steak with pinto beans against black beans and flour tortillas against corn tortillas.
When reviewing both restaurants I established a control group by limiting my palate to similar entrees. This would ensure that the food could be comparable without bias of different food. The control group included a burrito with steak, rice, black beans and each restaurants take on a mild salsa.
Altogether Qdoba’s food is at a higher quality than its competitor, all the ingredients tasted like they were fresh and made minutes before I ordered. This high quality compilation made all the flavors complement each other. Adding on to the quality, Qdoba also offers more options in what you can add to your meal. From multiple types of tortillas to the cheese and meat, the combinations seem endless.
Chipotle’s food was not of high quality let alone comparable to Qdoba. Every aspect of the burrito seemed to be manufactured, the steak in perfect cubes instead of a natural looking cut. With this assembly-line approach to making food, the taste and quality suffered without the fresh ingredients. It was like the food was taken out of the freezer and heated before I ate it.
The atmosphere of both restaurants varied even greater than the food. In Qdoba, the color and soft lighting made the whole experience somewhat relaxing as I waited in line. It really felt like a place you could sit down and enjoy your food with friends. However, at the front of the line my vision changed. The employees preparing my food were aggressive when asking what I wanted and acted superior to me, not like I was a paying customer.
Chipotle’s view was almost the exact opposite. Upon entering the door, I was greeted with “welcome” and “how is your day?” This contrast made me feel like the employees cared about what I wanted and valued me as a customer and a person in general. I felt like the employees were really trying to get to know me. Unlike the pleasant greeting me ears received, my eyes received a bland atmosphere. The entire restaurant seemed sterile with dark browns, silver and grey on every surface. It was similar to wandering through a doctor’s office as I tried to find my seat among the uniform environment.
All things considered, both restaurants vary in what you personally expect to get when you go out to eat.
Chipotle has tremendous customer service, while offering a bland atmosphere and mediocre food. Qdoba has a great atmosphere and great food while giving little care to individual customers who choose to eat there.
In my opinion, Qdoba is the better choice between the two. When I go out I prefer the quality of the food to be high. Customer service can be easily overshadowed by the exceptional food. Qdoba finds a way to wrap all the qualities of good food into one place.