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Qdoba or Chipotle: Which Mexican Fast-Food Chain is Better?

A comparison of Chipotle vs Qdoba that both eateries provide delectable choices for those who enjoy Mexican fast cuisine

Chipotle and Qdoba are two of the most popular fast-casual Mexican restaurants in the United States. Both chains offer a variety of customizable burritos, bowls, tacos, and salads, and are known for using fresh, high-quality ingredients. However, despite their similarities, there are some key differences between the two that set them apart.

Qdoba Mexican Eats fast casual restaurant

One of the most notable differences between Chipotle and Qdoba is their pricing. While both chains offer similar menu items, Qdoba tends to be slightly cheaper overall.

On the other hand, Chipotle has a reputation for using higher-quality ingredients, which can justify the slightly higher price point for some diners.

The two chains’ approaches to customization are another significant distinction. Those who enjoy mixing and matching flavors may find Qdoba’s broader selection of menu items and toppings to be interesting.

Chipotle, on the other hand, has a more condensed selection with an emphasis on quality over quantity and simplicity. The decision between the two ultimately boils down to personal preference and what is most important to each diner.

Menu Offerings

Chipotle Mexican Grill at Pineapple Commons Stuart


Burritos, bowls, tacos, and salads are just a few of the dishes that are available at both Qdoba and Chipotle.

However there are some obvious distinctions between the two chains. For instance, Qdoba has a wider selection of proteins, such as pulled pork, steak that’s been grilled, and vegetarian options like Impossible beef.

On the other side, Chipotle concentrates on a smaller variety of proteins but provides more customization choices for each entree.


Both Qdoba and Chipotle provide similar selections for sides, such as chips, guacamole, and salsa.

The free queso that Qdoba includes with every entree, in contrast to Chipotle, makes it stand out from the competition.

Moreover, Qdoba provides a greater selection of nacho toppings, such as beans, queso, and jalapenos.


Soft drinks, iced tea, and lemonade are just a few of the drinks that are available at Qdoba and Chipotle.

While Qdoba does not sell alcohol, Chipotle has certain locations that provide beer and margaritas.


Both Qdoba and Chipotle don’t have a huge selection of desserts. To sweeten up your meal, Chipotle does provide a chocolate chip cookie.

However, there are some noticeable variations between Qdoba and Chipotle in terms of variety and personalization possibilities, even if both restaurants offer identical menu items.

The decision between the two chains may ultimately come down to taste and personal preference.

Ingredients and Quality

Both Qdoba and Chipotle prepare their dishes with fresh ingredients. The quality of the ingredients used by these two fast-food businesses varies slightly, though.

Qdoba is a subsidiary of Jack in the Box

Chipotle is renowned for its dedication to using premium, responsibly sourced ingredients.

Their veggies are farmed without the use of pesticides, and their meat is free of hormones and antibiotics.

Whenever feasible, Chipotle purchases its products from nearby farms, helping to sustain neighborhood economies.

Although Qdoba likewise uses fresh ingredients, they do not share Chipotle’s dedication to sustainability.

Despite the fact that they do have some organic options, their meat is not always farmed without antibiotics or hormones.

Furthermore, Qdoba does not have the same dedication to obtaining its components from regional farms.

Ultimately, both Chipotle and Qdoba serve up great, fresh food. Chipotle might be a better option for you if you are worried about the quality of the ingredients you eat, though.


When it comes to pricing, both Qdoba and Chipotle provide similar alternatives at similar prices. Yet, there are a few important differences that are worth mentioning.

Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant in the Elmwood
ItemQdoba PriceChipotle Price
Chicken Burrito$7.80$7.25
Steak Bowl$9.20$8.65
Vegetarian Burrito$7.80$6.50

As compared to Chipotle, Qdoba generally looks to offer superior pricing in the aggregate. Guacamole is largely responsible for all of this.

The majority of folks enjoy some guacamole with their meals. Whereas Chipotle charges an additional fee for guacamole, Qdoba provides a serving for free.

Noting Qdoba’s rewards program, which enables customers to accumulate points with each purchase, is also important.

These points can then be exchanged for gifts or other benefits like free meals. In order to participate in Chipotle’s rewards program, customers must subscribe to a fee-based service.

Nevertheless, Qdoba and Chipotle both provide reasonably priced options for fast-casual Mexican cuisine.

But, Qdoba might be a better option if you’re seeking for a better value on guacamole or want to earn incentives for your purchases.

Customer Experience

view of a takeout order bag from Qdoba


Both Qdoba and Chipotle are renowned for their effective and kind service employees. But, according to a poll done by Our Community Today, Qdoba takes the lead in customer service.

The attentiveness and readiness of the workers at Qdoba have received high marks from many customers.

On the other side, some customers have complained that Chipotle’s wait times during busy times are longer.


A restaurant’s atmosphere has a big influence on how customers feel about it. Both Qdoba and Chipotle feature a similar fast-casual setup with a modern and minimalist atmosphere.

Yet Qdoba typically has a cozier, more laid-back ambiance with dimmer lighting and more seating options.

The ambiance at Chipotle, on the other hand, is lighter and more airy and places more of an emphasis on the kitchen and food preparation.


In any restaurant experience, cleanliness is crucial. Both Qdoba and Chipotle adhere to meticulous cleaning procedures and undergo regular health inspections.

However, some consumers have also complained about hygiene difficulties at both Qdoba and Chipotle restaurants, according to customer reviews on Pissed Consumer.

Unclean utensils and food scraps on tables and floors are frequent complaints. It’s crucial to remember that these concerns could differ depending on the particular franchise and are not typical of all locations.

Nutritional Information

Both Qdoba and Chipotle have a wide selection of fast-casual Mexican food.

But, it’s imperative to carefully review the nutritional information before placing your order if you’re keeping an eye on your calorie and nutrient consumption.

Chipotle Mexican Chicken Burrito Bowl

A Chipotle burrito bowl with chicken, white rice, pinto beans, pico de gallo, fajita vegetables, lettuce, and guacamole has 785 calories, 34.5g fat, 2050mg sodium, and 44.4g protein, according to Spoon University.

In contrast, the comparable bowl from Qdoba contains 120 fewer calories, less fat, less salt, and more protein.

Chipotle Burrito Bowl78534.5g2050mg44.4g
Qdoba Burrito Bowl66530g1090mg49g

It’s also important to note that while Chipotle costs extra for guacamole, Qdoba includes it with meals for free. The total number of calories and fat in your meal may change as a result of this.

It’s crucial to pay attention to the toppings and sauces you select if you want to reduce your sodium intake.

There are many selections available at Qdoba and Chipotle, however some of them could be heavy in sodium.

For instance, a serving of sour cream from Chipotle has 115mg of salt while a serving of queso sauce from Qdoba has 620mg.

Overall, Qdoba appears to have slightly healthier selections than Chipotle when it comes to nutritional data.

Making thoughtful decisions and being conscious of your meal’s calorie, fat, and sodium level are still crucial.



What is the main difference between Qdoba and Chipotle?

While both restaurants offer similar menus, there are a few key differences between Qdoba and Chipotle. Qdoba tends to have more customizable options, including a wider variety of proteins and toppings. Chipotle, on the other hand, is known for its commitment to using only high-quality, sustainably sourced ingredients.

Which restaurant is healthier?

Both Qdoba and Chipotle offer healthier options, but it ultimately depends on what you order. In general, choosing grilled proteins, fresh veggies, and skipping the sour cream and cheese can make for a healthier meal at either restaurant. However, Chipotle has a reputation for using fresher, higher-quality ingredients, which may give it a slight edge in terms of overall healthiness.

Which restaurant is more affordable?

Both Qdoba and Chipotle are reasonably priced, but the cost can vary depending on what you order. Generally, Qdoba tends to be slightly more affordable, with lower prices on some of its menu items. However, Chipotle also offers a rewards program that can help frequent customers save money over time.

Can I order online or through a mobile app?

Yes, both Qdoba and Chipotle offer online ordering and mobile apps for easy ordering and pickup. This can be a convenient option for those who want to skip the line and grab their food quickly.

Qdoba Mexican Grill Exterior and Logo

It is evident from a comparison of Chipotle vs Qdoba that both eateries provide delectable choices for those who enjoy Mexican fast cuisine. While Qdoba offers a greater selection of menu selections and customizing options, Chipotle is renowned for its straightforward and fresh ingredients.

Pricing-wise, Qdoba is typically a little less expensive than Chipotle, particularly for vegetarian selections. Chipotle, on the other hand, provides a more uniform portion size across all locations.

The decision between Chipotle and Qdoba ultimately comes down to taste. It’s up to the person to choose which restaurant best suits their tastes and ideals because both offer advantages and disadvantages.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.