Chipotle Weigh-In III

Today I weighed another Chipotle burrito, and in the process I may have had a breakthrough in burrito weight prediction.

Another Chipotle burrito on the scale.

This was a chicken burrito with rice, tomato, pinto beans, sour cream, cheese, and lettuce. Compared to my previous two weighed Chipotle burritos this one was a featherweight, weighing in at 554.6g (1.22 lbs).

The breakthrough that I had regarding predicting burrito sizing is this: burrito size at Chipotle shrinks as the number of patrons in the store increases.

Burrito #1: 669.4 grams — Patrons in store: 1

Burrito #2: 588.2 grams — Patrons in store: 6

Burrito #3: 554.6 grams — Patrons in store: 16

I think the explanation for this is that when the store is crowded the workers make the burritos more quickly. They are far more likely to use smaller portions at one or more stations. When the store is slow the burrito is built more deliberately.

The moral of the story: If you’re stalking a large burrito, remember that they don’t like crowds, shoot for an early or late lunch.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Chipotle Weigh-In III

  1. So did you retrospectively estimate the number of patrons in the store, or was this a hypothesis from the very beginning?

    I regressed the natural log of weight on the natural log of number of patrons. The result is very close to a straight line.

    log(weight) = 6.505 – 0.06838 log(#Patrons)

    with 99.8% R-squared.

    I would be interested in how well this equation predicts the weight of your next burrito.

    • What caused me to think about the number of patrons being related to the weight of burritos was my first weighed burrito purchase. I was the only person in the store, and I noticed the person assembling the burrito worked deliberately (for instance, he didn’t just throw on a few tomatoes and move to the next ingredient, he took a couple handfuls and made sure they were distributed throughout the burrito). It was easy to remember the the 1 patron part in hindsight because it was just me. My trip involved 6 patrons. I was able to recall that there was a group of three friends in front of me, followed by an individual, then me, and a person followed me into the store to become the sixth patron. Today I noticed the store was busy–and the burrito assemblers were working quickly–so I got a count out of curiosity.

      I also noted the fire marshal has certified the building for 111 occupants. If it were full you might end up with a pretty small burrito =)

      The next time I take a trip to Chipotle I’ll post the burrito weight and number of patrons. . .

      • Byran

        484 grams for the full house, which is sort of small but given the variability you’ve already observed might not be absurd.

      • Byran

        Of course, using the equation for 111 occupants is major extrapolation, which is dangerous to do. I’m hoping that the next time you buy a Chipotle burrito there is between 1 and 16 people in the store.

  2. antariksha

    This is very interesting. It’d be great if you could measure weights of equivalent burrito bowls at Chipotle as well. I always wondered bowl weighs more than burrito. When you order a bowl workers add more portions to compensate for missing tortilla, which I feel eventually weighs more than a burrito.

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