September 29, 2016

Who has discovered Chipotle’s lost revenue?

We’re sure you saw last week that Mark Crumpacker, Chipotle’s head of marketing, admitted the QSR chain is losing customers to McDonald’s in the wake of the E.coli scandal. His exact comments to the AP on safety concerns about Chipotle read “There are definitely folks out there who aren’t entirely sure,” and that the challenge is to win back the consumers who switched to “places like McDonalds.”

At Quantifind, we know that’s only part of the story. Our new insights platform, SIGNUM for Restaurants, revealed McDonalds picked up almost twice its fair share of all the consumer revenue that Chipotle's lost after the E.coli scandal.

Moreover, Crumpacker’s public fears didn’t even touch on the real pain point. Top fast casual chains like Panda Express, Panera, and Five Guys actually brought in more than twice their fair shares of the revenue leaking from Chipotle. In other words, customers aren't just leaving for McDonalds.

Our platform makes it clear that, as the E.coli scandals started to hit in November 2015, Chipotle’s loyalty scores amongst buyers declined while Five Guys’ rose sharply. The divergence is greatest with the 35+ crowd (parents).

While one could intuit that moms would be epecially skittish in reacting to the news, Chipotle actually faces a much bigger problem with men. During the six months after the news broke, women buyers stood by Chipotle. They craved the food more, felt more loyal to the brand, and were more likely to discuss bringing the family to Chipotle.

Males, on the other hand, over-performed for food poisoning and negative taste complaints.

We also found something potentially even more troubling for Chipotle: 30% of the money Chipotle lost didn’t go to any competitors. Those consumers simply stopped going out to eat and chose to stay home and cook, instead. So now Chipotle not only has to tackle McDonalds, Five Guys, and others... it has to start thinking about grocery stores, too.

Curious which competitors are eating your lunch and how you should fight back? Want to know who’s driving your revenue, and how to drive more? Quantifind can illuminate your competitive blindspots and show you how to steal market share.