Chipotle renames its ‘barbacoa’ menu offering because customers didn’t know what it was

Chipotle Mexican Grill has made one major change to its menu following confusion from customers over an item’s name.

Brian Niccol, chairman and CEO of the fast casual chain restaurant, announced during a first-quarter earnings call this week that Chipotle will be renaming its barbacoa burrito filling to “Braised Beef Barbacoa” after customers were unsure what the filling was.

“Many of our guests did not know that barbacoa was braised beef,” Niccol said, per Business Insider. “So we renamed it braised beef barbacoa.”

According to Chipotle’s menu, the restaurant’s barbacoa consists of “responsibly raised beef” that’s “braised for hours, then shredded”. Barbacoa is historically a method of cooking meat, with its origins in the Caribbean, so that it’s tender and juicy.

The lowest price for a burrito or burrito bowl with braised beef barbacoa at Chipotle is $13.35.

“We had another outstanding quarter driven by our improvement in throughput and successful marketing initiatives, including Braised Beef Barbacoa and Chicken Al Pastor, which drove strong sales and transactions,” said Niccol, per a press release. “The results we are seeing from our focus on developing exceptional people, preparing delicious food and fast throughput gives me confidence that we can achieve our long-term target of more than doubling our business in North America and expanding internationally.”

This isn’t the only change Chipotle has made to its menu in recent months. In October 2023, customers were outraged when the company raised its prices for the fourth time in two years due to “offset inflation”. The last time Chipotle announced a price hike was in July 2022, which led to entrees costing $1 more than usual for customers after the price hike took effect in August.

“Good luck. Eventually people will just stop coming,” one angry customer wrote on Reddit, while another replied: “I basically have stopped. Maybe if I happen to be out and need to slam something but even then, it’s not at the top of my list.”

Most recently, Chipotle offered free burritos on National Burrito Day. A select number of customers were able to receive a complimentary burrito from the chain on 4 April by playing an interactive game called “The Burrito Vault”. The game required players to correctly guess the ingredient order for a Chipotle burrito.

Each day before National Burrito Day, players were given four attempts to guess the burrito order and open the burrito vault. The contest highlighted Chipotle’s menu, which has more than 1.34 billion possible burrito combinations. For those who guessed the combination correctly, the first 50,000 people were able to receive a buy-one-get-one coupon code texted to them to be used on National Burrito Day.