Qdoba’s “Free” extras

I, like much of the market, has taken to these new age fast casual restaurants that are said to give you a quality product at a reasonable price. A couple examples of these are Qdoba, Chipotle, Moe’s, and Potbellys. All of these companies are taking advantage of the markets recent health craze and competing within. Qdoba recently released their new promotion to cut all the extra costs for additions to your meal and make everything under one price for their main menu items. This is something that none of their competitors currently do and has drawn some much needed attention to Qdoba to compete with Chipotle.







Chipotle has distinguished itself in the public light by highlighting their use of natural ingredients by not using chemicals like antibiotics and added hormones. Qdoba has always lived in their shadow and have finally found a small way to stand apart from the rest.

Qdoba also has a huge advantage compared to Chipotle in the way they receive their supplies(ingredients). Chipotle is forced to order from their locally sourced food. This can cause huge alterations if their suppliers have issues getting them their food. This actually occurred when there was a shortage of grass fed cattle which caused Chipotle to issue a statement that they had to obtain it from outside sources which does not look good or their public image.

Due to these gaps in Chipotle business structure, Qdoba decided to take to a new promotional scheme in order to give the customer exactly what they want for no increase in price. Since Qdoba can receive their ingredients from a wider variety of suppliers compared to Chipotle, it is much easier for them to take advantage of this opportunity. While at face value, this does seem like exactly what Qdoba needs, it actually ended up having a negative result to their customers. Qdobas menu now runs off two fixed costs that you can build your order off of, both of which are higher priced than before this promotion. The average trip to Qdoba is going to run you anywhere from $9.00-$11.00 which is quite high compared to the $8.00 burrito bowl at Chipotle. Not only that, but the burrito bowl at Chipotle still gives a substantial amount of more food than Qdoba.

As we have learned, quality is a subjective and this is no different. Quality is key when building any business and in that are the customer expectations which is composed of broken down and influenced by word of mouth, personal needs, and past experiences. By taking all three of these into account, Qdoba meets the word of mouth aspect of the customer with their product, but falls short in personal needs and past experiences. Past experience has proven that Chipotle offers a better tasting product, and personal needs points to Chipotle because they still offer an affordable, filling, and nutritious meal.

What kind of aspects do you take into account when choosing where to eat?

How have your experiences been with the fast casual restaurant chains? Which ones do you support?

What are some possible benefits of Qdoba’s new promotional scheme? What do you see as the pitfalls?