Moe's beat Chipotle as America's favorite Mexican restaurant

Moe's Beat Chipotle as America's Favorite Mexican Restaurant
Moe's Beat Chipotle as America's Favorite Mexican Restaurant

Moe's Southwest Grill has unseated Chipotle as America's favorite fast casual Mexican restaurant.

The news comes from a Harris Poll survey that assesses how people feel about certain restaurant brands.

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This year, Chipotle didn't even rank in the top four after claiming the No. 1 spot the past three years in a row.

Taco Bell, Qdoba Mexican Grill and Baja Fresh Mexican Grill rounded out the rest of the top spots.

That loss of consumer faith probably had a lot to do with several Chipotle restaurants throughout the country being linked to E. Coli and norovirus infections.

The company shut down all of its locations across the country for a day back in February to deal with its food safety issues.

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Chipotle tried to lure customers back by sending a promotion for free burritos through the mail. The company reports two-thirds of the coupons were redeemed.

However, the damage was apparently already done. Chipotle reported sales at stores open more than a year fell 30 percent in the first quarter of 2016.

One analyst told USA Today: "Brand perception is down. In retrospect, I just don't think they did enough to convince customers that Chipotle food was safe to eat."

It looks like Moe's reaped some benefits from Chipotle's misfortune. A survey from an analytics firm called Placed found Moe's saw a 5 percent increase in visitors when Chipotle was struggling with health concerns.

An unchanging menu likely hasn't helped Chipotle, either. Moe's already has a wider selection of ingredients and occasionally offers limited-time menu options, while Chipotle's offerings rarely change.

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