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.

RELATED: Chipotle's troubles with E. Coli

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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.

RELATED: Fast-food money-saving hacks

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Restaurant: McDonald’s

Hack: Order two four-piece nuggets instead of one six-piece. It’s cheaper, you get more nuggets and you get more sauces. Score.

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Restaurant: McDonald’s

Hack: Order a McDouble without the ketchup and mustard but with lettuce and Big Mac sauce. You'll pay for the Big Mac taste for the price of a McDouble.

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Restaurant: Chipotle

Hack: Order half of one protein and half of another kind (like chicken and steak). You’ll almost always get more than half of each and end up with up to 1.5x the protein in your burrito or bowl for the price of a normal portion.

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Restaurant: Arby’s

Hack: Order two junior roast beef sandwiches instead of one regular classic. You'll end up with more meat for a lower price.

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Restaurant: Jamba Juice

Hack: Substitute any ingredient in any smoothie for the same price. If you’re craving a smoothie with non-fat yogurt instead of mango, or extra strawberries instead of blueberries, customize it to your liking without any extra charge. It will save you more than being charged for creating your own smoothie from scratch.

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Restaurant: Jack in the Box

Hack: Order two Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers and combine them into one for a much cheaper version of a Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger. 

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Restaurant: McDonald’s

Hack: Order a sausage McMuffin off of the dollar menu but ask for the sausage to be substituted with egg—an egg McMuffin for a dollar.

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Restaurant: Any pizza place

Hack: When you call to order delivery, ask if there were any orders that weren’t delivered—the pizza place will often give you those orders for a discounted price (perfect if cold pizza is your thing.)

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Restaurant: Subway

Hack: Order a Double Steak and Cheese Sub instead of the Philly Cheese Steak Sub—you’ll get the same sandwich at a normal foot-long price.

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