Monday Morning Scoop - Chipotle and McDonald’s Show Strong Visits First Half 2023

Chipotle and McDonald’s Show Strong Visits First Half 2023

Where are diners headed who want a quick, affordable meal? Chipotle and McDonald’s retain their reign as leaders in the fast-food sector, according to, which looked at numbers as the first half of 2023 ended. But diners heading to both aren’t just value seekers. They’re customers hungry for quality, some of whom may have fatter wallets but also seek new tastes and concepts offered. 

Chipotle’s avocado-cutting robot helped draw attention but so did its 250 new outlets in smaller cities and college towns—the vast majority with pickup windows that are app-powered to help the company save money on third-party delivery fees, avoid price increases and maximize brand efficiency. The Newport Beach, Calif.-based company founded 30 years ago, focuses on bowls, tacos and Mission burritos made to order in front of customers. 

Altogether the chain, officially known as Chipotle Mexican Grill, posted increased Year-over-Year visits in all months with June up per venue 8.4%, which were higher than a year ago. They were also more than four times higher than the 2.1% visit per venue growth of its category during the same period.

McDonald’s, officially McDonald’s Corp. and based in Chicago, had a “McFlurry” of visits, according to writer Bracha Arnold in the report, a pun intended to play up its McFlurry  dessert of whipped, blended soft-serve ice cream. The chain also outperforms its category with yoy visits in June up 9.7%, versus 3.1% for the same period in its category of QSR or quick-service restaurants, an industry term for fast food. 

McDonald’s also added new stores last year, the first time in eight, due to its healthy state during and after the pandemic. And despite economic challenges, customers increased visits per venue.

Common denominators and differences and oh that protein bowl and gooier cheese. The two chains are succeeding with diners from a wide range of household incomes (HHI), not just those hunting for a very affordable meal. However, Chipotle customers are a bit flusher with cash with their HHI of $78.4K versus $62.7K HHI for those visiting McDonald’s. Chipotle tends to have items that cost a bit more but appeal because of its reputation for quality. 

Chipotle also rolled out its “Farmesa” dining concept, another play on words on the far-flung farm-to-table trend that has swept the country and which this chain is testing in chic Santa Monica, Calif. There the menu will broaden the chain’s Tex-Mex roots and offer California-inspired healthy, colorful customizable bowls. These will offer a protein, green or grain, two sides, a choice of five sauces and a topping. 

According to the Chipotle website, the full menu will include dishes like Classic Santa Maria-Style Grilled Tri-Tip Steak, Everything Spice-Crusted Ora King Salmon, Whipped Potatoes, Golden Beets, Sprouted Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Chips. Farmesa will also serve 100% Certified Organic, Non-GMO and all-natural drinks, plus still and sparkling water.

Over at McDonald’s, it will continue serving its affordable meals, which appeal not just to those looking at price all the time but who may want to spend less occasionally. 

Recently, the company revamped its classic burger, which the report said may help it capture a more discerning eater, too. What it’s doing is making them juicier with a more caramelized flavor and serving them on softer buns with gooier cheese.  

By: Barbara Ballinger
Source: GlobeStreet