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30 Secrets From Chipotle Employees

Find out what really goes on behind the scenes at Chipotle.

Chipotle fans aren't shy about sharing their love and devotion to the Tex-Mex chain. From the brand's commitment to ethical and sustainable food to their willingness to wrap a quesadilla around a burrito, Chipotle has got customers hooked.

While Chipotle devotees may think they know all there is to know about the chain, its employees have tons of behind-the-scenes info about how your food is prepped, which menu items are the most dangerous, and why showing up five minutes before closing makes things a whole lot harder on the staff. Before you hit up Chipotle or any other fast food joint, make sure to choose from one of these 20 Surprisingly Healthy Fast Food Orders!

They Hand-Make Their Guacamole Every Day

Chipotle guacamole

The extra charge for guacamole isn't just Chipotle's way of coming between you and your hard-earned cash. In fact, the person who makes said guacamole might just have the hardest job in the restaurant. Former Chipotle employee and Reddit user TheGuyWithAnUndercut says, "Those morning shifts smashing 8 bowls of avocados used to kill my shoulders at the end of the day." Another employee says that every freshly-made batch of guacamole means someone is mashing up to 140 avocados. Before you pass on an order with guac, read up on these 20 Healthy Fats That Help You Get Slim. (Yes, avocados are included.)

They Take Cleanliness Seriously

Cleaning kitchen

While Chipotle's cleanliness has been called into question because of E. coli and norovirus outbreaks associated with their food, former employees will attest to the strict standards to which their stores are held when it comes to food prep.

"I worked at Chipotle for a few months, and our prep process made me want to eat the food even more," says Redditor now_stop_that.

You Can Make Your Own Burrito

Chipotle burrito

If Chipotle's baby-sized burritos aren't enough to keep you satisfied, you might want to make your own. Employees say that ordering a burrito bowl and a side of tortillas, which you can often get for free, will give enough food for multiple meals. "THIS is Chipotle's big secret. Bowl + tortilla has like twice the food of a burrito, and costs the same," says one employee. Grab a healthier fast food meal by memorizing The Healthiest Dish to Order at 20 Fast Food Chains!

Employees Are Major Multitaskers

Chipotle sign
Courtesy of Chipotle

If you think that steak or chicken was processed in a plant a thousand miles away, you're mistaken. In fact, the very same person who bussed your tables or is washing dishes in the back could have been the same one to prepare your food. Chipotle employees are responsible for marinating, chopping, and cooking the meat themselves so it's hot and fresh by the time you're ready to order.

Their Food Is Never Frozen

Freezer door

While many fast food joints boast about serving fresh food, Chipotle takes their commitment to serving quality meat, veggies, and dairy products to the next level. Employees are eager to brag about the chain's lack of freezers, meaning the food you're eating today hasn't been sitting around for weeks before making it to your plate.

Burritos With Extra Salsa Are Virtually Impossible

Chipotle queso burrito

One of the biggest gripes from Chipotle employees? Customers who order a burrito loaded with salsa, sour cream, and guacamole and then feign surprise when it's not exactly a pretty sight. "Ordering a burrito full of mostly liquids doesn't mean a perfect roll every time," says one employee.

That Cilantro Lime Rice Isn't What it Seems

Cilantro leaves

If you've been trying to replicate Chipotle's famous cilantro lime rice at home to no avail, it's probably because you're missing an ingredient. The citrus used to flavor Chipotle's rice is actually a 50/50 mix of lemon juice and lime juice, according to employees. Speaking of rice, you, too, can enjoy healthier carbs at home with one of the 25 Best Carbs for Weight Loss

Chipotle Employees Are Chosen For Specific Characteristics

Chipotle burrito

If you've noticed that Chipotle's service is shockingly consistent from state-to-state, or that their employees tend to have some similarities, that's not a coincidence. According to one former Chipotle kitchen manager, the company seeks hires, whether in kitchen prep or the corporate office, with 13 key characteristics, including curiosity, honesty, intelligence, and enthusiasm.

Your Refusal to Bus Your Table is a Big Inconvenience

Chipotle baskets

Bussing your own table is crucial to keep your local Chipotle running like clockwork. Employees are counting on customers tossing their trash at the end of the meal and returning anything reusable. In fact, Chipotle even designs their stores with this in mind, putting trash cans by the exit so you won't forget.

The Chain is Eager to Correct Its Mistakes

Chipotle sign

Had a bad time at a Chipotle? Don't be shy about telling them. In fact, one former kitchen manager reveals that Chipotle is in the habit of sending free coupons to people who've had a negative experience in one of their stores.

Some of Your Food May Have Been Prepped Elsewhere

Chopping vegetables

While much of Chipotle's food is prepped on-site by team members, those chopped veggies may be the result of someone else's handiwork.

One service manager reveals that the chain's peppers, tomatoes, and lettuce are now sent to stores pre-chopped, while the brand's barbacoa and carnitas are often prepped elsewhere, too. Pull a page from Chipotle's book and make your at-home meals more convenient with these 25 Tips For Meal Prep!

App Ordering Makes Things Easier For Everyone


If you're looking to save time on your trip to Chipotle, order via app—everyone will thank you, according to one employee. Using the Chipotle app for orders means that the lunch and dinner rushes are cut down significantly for workers, and app orders mean that you get to cut the entire line, pay for your food, and head out the door in seconds.

Burrito Training Can Take a Full Day

Chipotle burrito

Before you start going on about how you could wrap a burrito better than the employees at your local Chipotle, consider that they've had intense training in their technique. One former employee says that it took a full day to train new burrito assemblers, and that, in pursuit of perfection, each new burrito prepper will make hundreds of burritos before they serve one to a paying customer.

Those Tortillas Are Adding Major Calories to Your Food

Chipotle burritos

While eating at Chipotle generally isn't great for anyone trying to slim down, if you're trying to shave a few calories off your meal, skip the tortilla. Ordering a burrito bowl or salad instead will save you more than 300 calories, recommends one Chipotle employee.

Making Quesaritos is a Dangerous Endeavor


If you want to ruin a Chipotle employee's day, order a quesarito, particularly during the lunch rush. "I remember the face of every fiend who ever ordered one," says one former employee.

Another former employee claims that prepping the infamous quesarito means putting your hands in direct contact with cheese that has the approximate consistency and temperature of lava.

Their Margaritas Aren't For Lightweights


Just one Chipotle margaritas is more than enough to give you a buzz. One former Chipotle manager says that their store was inundated with complaints because customers were expecting something less potent.

You Can Get Free Guacamole


Tired of having to shell out a few extra bucks for guacamole? Order the veggie burrito instead. While meat-based burritos, bowls, and tacos will incur a charge for guacamole, the green stuff is free on vegetarian orders, according to employees.

That Partition is There For a Reason

Sick woman

While this should go without saying in any store, reaching over the glass partition at Chipotle is not only annoying, but unsanitary for you and every other customer in line. Just because the partition has space under it and isn't so tall that it's impossible to reach over doesn't mean you should start shoving your fingers past the glass—it is there for your safety, after all.

Most of Them Will Give You Extra

Chipotle taco

If you feel like your order is lacking, don't be afraid to ask for extra. One Chipotle employee says that many stores will give you some extra veggies, salsa, or rice without charging you—if you ask nicely, that is.

You Can Have Your Ingredients Mixed

Chorizo burrito

If you don't enjoy how the ingredient-by-ingredient prep of your burrito winds up tasting, ask an employee to mix the ingredients in a bowl before they put it in the tortilla. While it is a more time-consuming endeavor, employees admit that they're willing to do it when customers ask.

Virtually Everything is Made Fresh Daily

Chipotle condiments

In addition to their strict cleanliness standards, Chipotle is diligent about making sure yesterday's food doesn't end up on today's menu. One former employee reveals that Chipotle weighs the remaining meat at the end of the day and tosses it, keeping only a few veggie ingredients for more than 24 hours.

They Want You to Know Your Salsa

Chipotle pico de gallo

If you want to keep the assembly line at Chipotle running smoothly, know which salsa you're ordering before you get to the end of the counter. Chipotle has mild, medium, hot, and corn salsas—ordering "regular" salsa doesn't mean anything, according to one employee. Salsa isn't the only way to eat healthy at Chipotle—just check out our favorite healthy Mexican foods.

Ordering Tacos Means Less Food

Chipotle tacos

If you want the most bang for your buck, steer clear of the tacos. Redditor KourageWolf reveals that tacos generally contain about half the amount of meat, beans, and rice than you'd get in a bowl or burrito, but you can always order taco shells on the side of a burrito bowl to get what's essentially a larger version of the same meal.

They Really Want You to Stop Throwing the Baskets Away

Chipotle burrito

If you want to make the lives of Chipotle employees easier, make sure that the red basket your burrito came in is stacked at the end of your meal and doesn't end up in the trash.

"Nothing fills me with murderous rage more than seeing a red basket in the trash can," says one employee. "Whenever I run cash, I keep a decoy basket on top of each can to show people what to do, yet STILL I find at least two or three thrown away. There are probably untold amounts of baskets that I don't even see."

Their CEO is Very Hands-On

Chipotle CEO

Chipotle workers are beholden to more than just their customers and direct supervisors. Employees report Chipotle CEO Steve Ells checking in on their franchises and even sitting down for a meal.

They Care About Their Technique

Chipotle salad bowl

Chipotle's behind-the-scenes culture is often as sunny as the service you're getting at the counter. To make meal prep more fun, employees report doing everything from psych-up cheers to serenading the veggies before they prep them. "Would you believe me if I told you we sing to our onions before cutting them?" asks one employee. We guess we do!

Employees Eat for Free

Chipotle meal

While many companies are ditching employee meals as a cost-cutting measure, that isn't the case at Chipotle. Not only do employees get one free meal each day, including a side of chips and guacamole, employees get a 50 percent discount on meals to take home.

There's a Lot of Work to Do at Closing, So Don't Arrive Late

Chipotle sign

Wiping down counters and fishing red baskets out of the trash are far from the only duties most Chipotle employees have to do at closing, so don't come in at the last minute. Locations with outdoor seating often have only a few employees to bring in every last piece of furniture at closing, so placing an order when the store is about to close means your local burrito expert isn't getting home until long after their shift is over.

Chipotle Invests In Employees' Education


Chipotle is invested in their employees both on and off the clock. Chipotle employees can be eligible for up to $5,250 in tuition reimbursement and some Chipotle training can count as college credit at Bellevue University, with which the company has partnered.

Certain Ingredients Are Always Served in Smaller Portions

Diced chicken

If it seems like the portions of meat or guacamole you're being served are on the stingy side, you're not wrong. Chipotle employees are taught to be careful when serving the "critical seven," the seven ingredients that cost the most money to the company. This special designation is reserved for barbacoa, carnitas, chicken, steak, guacamole, cheese, and sour cream. Can't get enough Chipotle? Make sure you've checked out Every Dish at Chipotle—Ranked! before you place your next order.

Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more about Sarah