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Disappointed At Chipotle - What Should I Expect?

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#1 Nikki2777

 
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Posted 01 April 2013 - 04:54 PM

I was diagnosed with Celiac about a month ago and have tried to be strictly gluten-free since then, while still trying to go to restaurants with my kids and husband.   I was excited to try Chipotle, as I'd read here and elsewhere that they're very gluten-free aware and would make efforts to avoid CC once told that you have Celiac.  So, today we stopped into our local Chipotle (one of my favorite quick serve restaurants before diagnosis), and it was clear that the first two servers/employees had no idea at all what I was talking about.  

 

I was too scared to order anything (actually teared up in frustration and went outside to calm down).  When the line got shorter, I asked to speak to the manager on duty and told him that I thought that Corporate had policies and practices for this and could he get in touch with them on how to handle it, so I can try and eat there again.

 

So, my question is -- when I go back, what should I expect?  Do all of you go to Chipotle and just order off the menu or do you tell the first employee that you have Celiac and they take precautions?  

 

Thanks.  I'm really trying to figure out how to handle 'the disclosure'.


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#2 karichelle

 
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Posted 01 April 2013 - 05:07 PM

You might have a better response by telling them that you are allergic to wheat/flour (even though it doesn't tell the whole story) than by just stating that you have celiac. Your average fast casual food employee isn't likely to know what celiac is. That could have been part of their confusion.


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#3 Darissa

 
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Posted 01 April 2013 - 05:38 PM

We had a not so great experience recently at a Chipotles. The staff member did not realize what gluten free was, and was a little confused.  We had not tried Chipotles for years due to some previous not so great experiences, so we decided to try it again.  We did not end up staying and eating this time.  Too much confusion and cross contact. Not sure if we will be back or not.

 

I have heard that some people can eat there. Maybe it depends on the store. Maybe some stores are better than others, but we have not had good experiences. It is sad, because they have so many gluten free options (almost everything) and there are many stores in our area. We are very sensitive to cross contact, and it seems that we can not eat there.  Maybe the one in your area is better. Good luck. I did email corp with our issue and got a reply that said they will work on the education of their employees when it comes to allergans.

 

When we go to a new restaurant, I do normally ask for a manager, but didn't this time until after the fact. So, thats bad on my part. Good luck. We find it hard to eat out, especially at fast food places that do have some gluten free options. You will find that some chains, it really depends on the individual location and the management and employees at that store. Some are better than others (thats what I've found in all chains, not just Chiptole)

 

(just fyi ... this is a change from my orginal post. I felt like I ranted in my orginal post and I was frustrated when I wrote it ....so I toned it down. Sorry)

 

I find it best to talk to someone other than the front staff (manager or team lead) and explain that we have a "severe allergy to wheat/gluten" and that seems to help the most. I also ask for a change of gloves and clean prep surface to help decrease cross contact.  We mostly pack lunches or snacks with us most places we go. Than I don't worry!  We always carry something with us if we are going to be out long.  Good luck. It does get easier! If we are going somewhere with family or friends that we can not safely eat at, we just order a drink and visit and have a good time (we eat at home prior so we aren't hungry when at the restaurant!!)
 


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#4 mamaw

 
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Posted 01 April 2013 - 06:06 PM

As  with  any  chain restaurant some  people  don't  or  didn't  get  the  memo.......!!!!!  When this  happens  a nice  call to the  corporate  office  is  what  is needed  so  they  can  correct  the  problem  with  the  ones  who are  not  complying with  corporate protocals.....

As  with  any  dining  out  gluten-free  experience  none  are  100%  safe,  but  neither  is  Grandma's  sunday  dinner....but  we  can  be  choosey  when  we  go  out  for  a gluten-free  meal...

Our  local  Chipolte  is  the   best  it   will be..as  soon as  I  say  gluten free  the person  instantly  changes  their gloves  & tells  others  working  down the  line ( if  unable to  complete  the meal  by  themselves)that  a  gluten-free  meal  is  coming  down the  line. Most  often  the   first  person is  able  to  follow through to the  end of  the  line...they  tell me  the hard  taco shell is  safe, rice  bowls  are  safe,  they  have  a  corn  soft  shell  that  is  safe...They  tell me the meat  choices & so on.....

 

Being  celiac  for  ten years my  words  of  wisdom  for  newbies  is :::::: Do NOT eat  out  for  at least three  months  ,stay  away from  highly processed  foods, beer, wine, and  limit  junk foods. Give  your  body  a  chance  to heal. Eat  clean & healthy........


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#5 Darissa

 
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Posted 01 April 2013 - 07:23 PM

Our  local  Chipolte  is  the   best  it   will be..as  soon as  I  say  gluten free  the person  instantly  changes  their gloves  & tells  others  working  down the  line ( if  unable to  complete  the meal  by  themselves)that  a  gluten-free  meal  is  coming  down the  line. Most  often  the   first  person is  able  to  follow through to the  end of  the  line...they  tell me  the hard  taco shell is  safe, rice  bowls  are  safe,  they  have  a  corn  soft  shell  that  is  safe...They  tell me the meat  choices & so on.....

I am thankful your Chipolte is good with handeling the gluten free meal well. Thats great. Maybe more of the restaurants will get on board with this.

 

I did get a response today from Chipolte saying thanks for the message and they will make sure they do some educating with their staff in allergans. I was thankful for the response.  I do think alot of times it is that the employees aren't educated in safe practices when it comes to allergies (or celiac).


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#6 CeliacAndCfsCrusader

 
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Posted 06 April 2013 - 07:17 AM

I'm probably the biggest advocate of Chipotle there is, but that doesn't mean they can ever be perfect.

 

I've been enjoying their food since they opened about 15 years ago, the last 5 being since I was diagnosed with Celiac.

 

My experience is that the CO run stores are cleaner and better run overall. This may be part of the problem.

 

Since the OP is newly diagnosed, I understand how stressful eating out is.

 

Maybe this will help.

 

  • The only thing in the store that has gluten is the wheat tortilla. But the warming machine is definitely cc'd, so don't use it ever.
  • The only ingredient that may have been a worry is the vinegar in the hot red sauce, but vinegar is usually ok'd by us Celiacs (some choose to avoid it).
  • Yes, the spoons sometimes touch the tortilla, but usually they just dump it on top, and it doesn't. They will change spoons and gloves if you ask (I don't bother).
  • I have never once got cc'd there and I eat there at least 3x per week (few choices near my job and I trust them).
  • I ONLY ever order a Burrito Bowl. This way there is no possible cc from salad, dressings, taco shells etc.
  • I skip the "extras", even though they are gluten-free, they are more easily cc'd. I order MEAT, BEANS, Fajitas and Meat. That's it.
  • If I ever see a dirty store, I'm more careful
  • I eat their chips all the time. No problem, it's a dedicated fryer.
  • I verified all the meats are gluten-free, they even let me read the label(s) when I was first diagnosed

We all have to be careful, I understand, but eating at Chipotle's CAN be done easily. I'm sensitive to cc and have never had an issue.

 

Good Luck!


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#7 plumbago

 
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Posted 07 April 2013 - 05:29 AM

Things in DC's Chipotles have gotten very slack over the last 1.5 years, and I probably should not eat there anymore. (Union Station and Woodley Park, for those in DC - those are the ones I use. Not sure about Dupont Circle's.) Can we email their corp office this link?!

 

Plumbago


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#8 kareng

 
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Posted 07 April 2013 - 11:51 AM

Things in DC's Chipotles have gotten very slack over the last 1.5 years, and I probably should not eat there anymore. (Union Station and Woodley Park, for those in DC - those are the ones I use. Not sure about Dupont Circle's.) Can we email their corp office this link?!
 
Plumbago


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#9 Takala

 
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Posted 13 April 2013 - 08:18 AM

The Chipotle's in northern CA (Sacramento area) are testing out a (shudder...) tofu burrito so they can appeal to the vegan market. I think it is called a "sofrito."  Just an FYI for those gluten free people also trying to avoid soy proteins - watch out for the tofu.  <_<


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#10 CommonTater

 
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Posted 17 April 2013 - 07:35 PM

Our Chipolte is wonderful! They change their gloves as soon as you say gluten free and nothing in there has gluten expect the tortillas but they are very careful not to cross contaminate. We don't eat out often and when we do we are very careful because I am so sensisitve to gluten.


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After many years of suffering from Late Stage Lyme Disease I became Gluten intolerant and I'm extremely sensitive.


#11 GF Lover

 
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Posted 18 April 2013 - 05:44 AM

This is my opinion.  I believe every public restaurant, cafe, etc. Can have gluten contamination.  To Err Is Human and these facilities are operated by humans.  I think you play Russian Roulette every time you dine out.  Eating out is a choice.  I do at times eat out myself and am very careful but I do get that pit in my stomach every time wondering if this time is the time I get hit.  

 

Restaurants are not responsible for our health, we are.

 

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#12 IrishHeart

 
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Posted 19 April 2013 - 05:21 AM

.  

 

Restaurants are not responsible for our health, we are.

 

 

 

Absolutely true.

 

They do their best, but eating out is a crap shoot. I am very exact with my requests to waitstaff and/or the chef in about a dozen restaurants

and I have been lucky ( I have been burned only once. It was a 99 restaurant. Yet, the week before, I went unscathed. Same place.)

 

I have yet to try a Chipotle, but the celiacs I know who eat in the one nearby (Latham, NY) say they bend over backwards to accomodate

them, changing their gloves and giving them special attention, with no consequences.

I'm going to try them someday (once I get past the no cheese, no tomatoes issue) <_<


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#13 msmini14

 
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Posted 19 April 2013 - 10:02 AM

I get sick every time I eat there.  Even if the employee changes gloves and is careful with my food.  I love the food since it is good but not worth it to me.


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#14 mamamonkey

 
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Posted 20 April 2013 - 12:17 AM

I'm another one who gets (well got) sick every time I ate there. Despite employees changing gloves, washing hands, etc. I just gave up. It would be nice to be able to eat there since the rest of my family loves it and it would be a nice place to add to the few on my list that I know are safe.

 

Oh, I am in the DC-NOVA area as well.


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#15 recklesstryg

 
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Posted 22 April 2013 - 06:31 PM

I am 2 weeks in on my gluten free life. I was a avid Chipotle burrito eater, only ever lost one piece of rice when I eat one. I went there last weekend and I picked up a little card that had a run down on the allergens in there menu, allergies across the top and ingredeants down the side and an X for what matches. I got a burrito bowl with everything I used to get. The dressing is awesome. It is . lot easier to get them to understand gluten free than celiac. In
the end it is a chain and over the years I found the ones to avoid.
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