Why Doesn’t Chipotle have Queso?

The question that plague’s 35,000+ Chipotle employees everyday is “Why doesn’t Chipotle have Queso?”. Well… this is why.

Chipotle Mexican Grill is famous for focusing on “Food With Integrity” and its menu is as short and simple as the company mission to change the way people think and eat fast food. By serving the very best sustainably raised food possible with an eye to great taste, great nutrition and great value, Chipotle has been able to outgrow its competitors and become a icon in the industry. Chipotle supports and sustain family farmers who respect the land and the animals in their care, they use meat from animals raised without the use of antibiotics or added hormones, they source organic and local produce when practical, and use dairy from cows raised without the use of synthetic hormones (rBGH). Chipotle’s commitment to serving Food With Integrity is a critical component to why Chipotle doesn’t serve queso.

How is queso made? In order to keep (real) cheese at a semi-liquid state for queso, you need to add chemical stabilizers that prevent it from becoming too runny or too thick and artificial colors are often added to make it look like real cheese. A box of Velveeta contains two seperate color additives to make it look like cheese and two different preservatives to increase its shelf life. Stabilizers, Color Additives, and Preservatives are the complete opposite to Chipotle’s commitment to serving Food With Integrity and the next component to why Chipotle doesn’t serve queso.


The last component is the saddest and shows that Chipotle still has a long way to go to change the way people THINK and EAT fast food.

Steve Ells, Chipotle’s founder and CEO, has a Bachelors Degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. After hearing complaints from the general public as well as food critics, Steve Ells decided to give everyone what they were asking for. Steve created a Chipotle queso featuring an artisan blend of mexican cheeses and let it loose on a blind taste testing focus group. The focus group was asked to sample two queso’s, one was Steve’s recipe and the other was melted Velveeta cheese. Guess what? Everyone in the focus group voted for the Velveeta. Thats the last component to why Chipotle doesn’t have queso.

Chipotle is in the business (like Apple) of giving you what you need and not always what you want. By focusing on only serving food free of added hormones, without additives, without preservatives, etc… Chipotle has created a foodie movement that is long overdue. Queso is admittedly very delicious as is every other processed food we have been conditioned to crave since childhood. Chipotle might serve queso one day but I’m not putting my money on it until Food With Integrity moves from being a Chipotle motto to a National movement.

Here’s a great comparison of Qdoba’s queso in a head to head comparison with Chipotle queso.


  1. I still think they should at least have it as an option. For those of us who LOVE queso, it would sure encourage me to go to Chipotle a lot more instead of always opting for Qdoba.


Speak Your Mind