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The Difference Between Qdoba and Chipotle

Qdoba Mexican Eats fast casual restaurant

There have been many discussions among foodies about the gastronomic conflict known as the “battle of the burrito joints.” We’ll analyze the subtle differences between Qdoba and Chipotle in this culinary battle. Every mouthful reveals a different story of flavor philosophy, from the colorful assortment of toppings to the hot selections of proteins. This article is your ticket to the culinary frontier where these two titans collide, whether you’re a die-hard fan of Chipotle enjoying their minimalist brilliance or a member of Team Qdoba enjoying their queso-drenched concoctions. So buckle in, let your inner burrito expert loose, and join us as we embark on a flavorful journey across the distinct worlds of Qdoba and Chipotle.

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.

Ingredients and Quality

Qdoba is a subsidiary of Jack in the Box

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. 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.

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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

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. 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

Chipotle Mexican Chicken Burrito Bowl

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. 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.

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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. 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.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar 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.

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