Both a diehard Chipotle fan and a person who doesn’t eat pork, Seth Porges was surprised to discover recently that the pinto beans he’d been eating for years from there are actually cooked with a little bit of bacon. Within two hours of emailing top execs and tweeting about it, he received a personal phonecall from Steve Ells, CEO of Chipotle.
It seems the general policy is that if the customer orders other meat products along with the pinto beans — Porges usually orders the chicken — the counter staff doesn’t usually tell them that the pinto beans are cooked with bacon.
That’s going to change. Within two hours, Ells called to apologize and said that Porges’s tweets and email had prompted him to order the entire chain to change their in-store menus to reflect that the pinto beans were cooked with bacon.
Chipotle confirmed the change to Consumerist. “The menu panels have been redesigned to reflect that change, and the plan is to deliver them to restaurants along with other changes to the menu boards over the next several months,” Chris Arnold, Communications Director for Chiptole, told Consumerist.
“Was extremely impressed as Chipotle’s quick and personal response,” Porges told Consumerist. “Just a model of great PR: attend to the problem, apologize, and create a solution.”
“Look forward to eating there lots more in the future,” he added.
Here is the email Porges had initially sent Ells and other execs at Chipotle:
I have eaten at Chipotle an average of once a week for more than a decade. In total, the number of times I have visited various Chipotle restaurants probably numbers in the hundreds. Virtually every time, I order the same dish, with the same type of beans: Pinto.
Yesterday, on a visit to Chipotle, one of the employees revealed to me that the Pinto beans have bacon in them.
Me: “Seriously? Nobody has ever told me that before.”
Her: “Really? Well we’re supposed to tell customers there is bacon in it.”
Hundreds of visits, more than 10 years, and not once have I ever been told this. This would not be a huge deal, except that I do not eat bacon for religious and cultural reasons, and have unwittingly consumed it hundreds of times over the past decade. I have a hunch that millions of other non-pork eaters have likewise been consuming bacon at Chipotle without realizing it.
When I found out about the bacon, I immediately felt ill and queezy, and am not exaggerating when the thought of what I had been eating for the past decade nearly made me through up.
I find it unacceptable that it is not posted on the menu that the pinto beans contain pork or any other type of meat. My experience has proved that, even if Chipotle employees are instructed to inform patrons of the bacon’s presence, they rarely (if ever) do.
I am of the belief that immediate action should be changed to fix this problem, which strikes me as quite serious. I suggest posting the bacon as an asterix to the “Pinto” listing on the menu, or calling it “Pinto and bacon”.
I have also taken to Twitter to air my grievances and to see if anybody else has had problems with this.
Causing Chipotle to Change [Signal To Noise Ratio]