Chipotle: Bol, Carnitas, Barbacoa, Margarita, Cilantro, Tomatillo
Taco Bell: Zesty Sauce, Gordita, Chalupa, Crunchwrap, Border Bowl, Fresco Style
Chipotle: Food cooked and prepared in front of customers. Live-action video on website of food being prepped, mixed and cooked from scratch. Steve Ells, founder and chairman-CEO, holds degree from Culinary Institute of America.
Taco Bell: Says food is "layered, loaded, grilled, melted and topped fresh for you, right when you order it." Employees say meats are "add water and heat."
A buck and a quarter gets you:
Chipotle: Chips and salsa, $1.25
Taco Bell: Half-pound beef combo burrito, $1.29
2005 sales rank among top 100 chains:
Taco Bell: 5
2005 same-store sales growth:
Taco Bell: 7%
Same-store sales growth streak:
Chipotle: 8 years
Taco Bell: 3 years, 7 months
Chipotle: Majority owned by McDonald's
Taco Bell: Yum Brands
Chipotle: "Honest ingredients" and "food with integrity"
Taco Bell: Bold alternative to burgers
share of mexican limited-service chains 2001
Taco Bell: 67%
share of mexican limited-service chains 2005
Taco Bell: 58%
what the experts say:
Chipotle: "The chain's unit-growth potential remains outstanding, given the quality of the food/experience (and consumers' embrace of such) and possibilities for same-sales performance that exceeds the company's communicated goals," said Mark Kalinowski, restaurant analyst for Buckingham Research Group, in a July 31 investor note.
Taco Bell: "Their weakness is in their image," said Maria Caranfa, director of Mintel Menu Insights. "[Fast-casual chains] portray their food as fresh Mexican foods with not a lot of preservatives and fats. That's where Taco Bell is lacking."