Somber News: Chipotle To Raise Costs Of Burritos, Tacos, & Burrito Bowls

Somber news Friday for anybody who loves Mexican food, but dines on a budget: Ubiquitous Mexican chain Chipotle will raise their prices for the first time in three years, starting summer 2014. Executives for the company have suggested before that an across-the-board, three-to-five percent increase could be in the cards, in an effort to combat disappointing first-quarter net income. Such a hike translates to between 25 and 40 cents extra for an $8 burrito bowl — not the most colossal ramping-up of prices, but one which could annoy customers nonetheless.

The main reason cited for the hike is the rising cost of some key ingredients. In particular, beef, cheese and avocado prices, which CEO Jack Hartung referenced in a conference call Thursday, are on the rise. He claimed the cost of beef has risen 25% since the last year's fourth quarter, and the debilitating drought which has seized California has caused a potential avocado crisis, as production could plummet by 30 percent.

For what it's worth, Hartung seems unconcerned about getting much negative backlash about this, and you can understand why — it's a minor enough increase that it's unlikely to steer away anyone who's jonesing for some predictably comfortable Mexican.

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You never know what might happen if you push it too far, though. He also claimed that most of Chipotle's value "comes from the experience," and that the chain has "permission" from its devotees to raise prices even further, if need be: "We've still got room." New menu boards with the updated prices are expected to start appearing in the coming weeks.