Chipotle Is Sorry To Interrupt Its Regular Steak Programming With Conventionally Raised Beef

Truth-telling shouldn't be so remarkable, but that's the world we live in.

Truth-telling shouldn’t be so remarkable, but that’s the world we live in.

It might seem like a small thing, to alert your customers when a product you offer changes. But as we’ve seen with the horsemeat scandal over in Europe, knowing exactly what kind of food you’re eating is vitally important to consumers. After all, you’re the one deciding to spend your hard-earned cash so you should be in the loop. Consumerist reader Salman noticed this kind of transparency in action recently at his local Chicago Chipotle.

One of Chipotle’s strongest selling points for customers is its responsibly-raised meat products, which explains the above sign, reading:

“Due to supply shortages, this restaurant is currently serving conventionally raised steak. We’ll be back to our unconventional ways ASAP.”

We’d never seen this kind of sign firsthand, so we wondered if there was some sort of discount offered for customers to make up for the conventional steak, or if the notice just served as a disclaimer so customers could make an informed decision whether or not to get their beef on.

A Chipotle spokesman was kind enough to clarify how/why this happens, and why there’s no discount involved:

We do see some disruptions to our supply from time-to-time (mostly naturally raised beef), but the disruptions are unforeseen, generally short-term in nature (sometimes lasting only for a few days or up to a few weeks), and affect only small areas at any given time. We provide notice to customers so they know that it is not the naturally raised meat we usually use in the event that impacts on their decisions. We don’t reduce prices in those instances largely because we really don’t save money when we are buying conventionally raised meat on the spot market and for short-term periods, so there really isn’t a saving to be realized.

It shouldn’t be necessary to praise a chain for actually telling the truth, but there are likely many restaurants out there who would just substitute the beef and not tell customers. And no one would be any the wiser, because cooked steak just looks like all other cooked steak.