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Disappointed At Chipotle - What Should I Expect?

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#16 MarylandMan

 
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Posted 24 April 2013 - 05:37 PM

I am very sensitive to CC so I have opted to simply not eat out unless there is not another option. Before I made that decision though I went to Chipotle a number of times with reasonable success. I told them I was allergic to wheat, ordered a burrito bowl and asked them kindly to change their gloves. Typically instead of all of them changing their gloves just one of them took my bowl all the way down the line. It does feel a lot like an its all about me moment, but don't feel bad it is about your health. Just beware of the cheese and lettuce. They grab it with there gloved hands and even if they have changed there gloves for you. They were just previously reaching in those bins with gloves that may have touched a tortilla. Good luck.
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#17 NotMollyRingwald

 
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Posted 26 April 2013 - 11:00 AM

...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.

 

^^ This!  I've been fortunate to have a very gluten aware Chipotle near my work.  The staff has been trained that if a customer indicates a gluten issue, they are to change their gloves, and follow that customer all way to the cashier (so only one worker touches your food). Like recklesstryg said, there are ones to visit, and ones to avoid!!  Hope you have better luck next time. 


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#18 volunteergal63

 
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Posted 28 April 2013 - 12:38 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'.

I was diagnosed with Celiac's in 2008 and have found the best way to figure out if I can eat at a specific restaurant is to call ahead and ask for the manager. I explain what I have and ask if they feel confident they can serve me within a 20 ppm tolerance. I have found some restaurants that have gluten free menus will NOT commit to that, but alot of chef/owner one know there ingredients and kitchen well and can serve me even if they don't have a menu.

 

I would suggest getting a grocery guide, check all your medications with your pharmacist and just take it one step at a time. It is scary but you will feel better the longer you are on the diet.


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#19 MsCurious

 
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Posted 28 April 2013 - 09:22 PM

When I finally got brave enough to try eating out, my husband and I went to PF Chang's which is fabulous in downtown Sacramento and Roseville, if you're near there...give it a try! They use special plates with PF Chang's logo on them to signify gluten free. The waiters are all trained, and immediately bring gluten free soy sauce, etc. I did get glutened once, when I didn't notice they brought the lettuce wraps on a regular plate and not a logo plate. Now I'm very aware and make sure that's what my food is served on. 

 

Having, good luck there...we decided to try Chipotle's across from Sunrise Mall. We had seen that they advertised gluten free food, and I was very excited to have another option. When we arrived and waited in line, I keenly observed the crew behind the counter. All had their gloves on... good sign, right? So I watched the first person grab a flour tortilla, and slap it down on the paper in from of him and grab a spoon full of beans and smear it on the flour tortilla...and then toss the spoon back into the beans. Clearly, the beans were off limits. Next he grabbed a spoonful of rice and did the same thing, although the spoon didn't touch as much of the flour, back in the rice it went. BUT, I was hopeful that maybe I could have some meat and maybe some lettuce and tomatoes or something pretty basic. As that flour torilla was passed along to the next person, she grabbed the edges of the flour tortilla and turned it on the paper... guess she didn't like the angle it was facing. :P Then she jammed her flour contaminated glove into the lettuce tub, and then into the tomatoes and what ever else.... THEN she folded the flour tortilla and rolled it up... wrapped it in paper and grabbed the next one coming down the counter... again jammed her contaminated glove into the lettuce, and cheese etc... This went on for 5-6 orders before we got to the counter.

 

My husband, who is not gluten free, ordered his lunch and I declined. When we got to the register ... the MANAGER of the Chipotle on duty at the time... looked at the order and said... Is this all your ordering? I said, well, yes it is. I had hoped to dine here as well, but your employees have cross contaminated all of your gluten free food. She looked at me and laughed flippantly and said... "Yeah, I guess we should be more careful, huh?"  And that was it! That was all she had to say about it. She didn't care. She didn't apologize, and certainly didn't make any indication that she would attempt to change anything.  I would NEVER  EVER eat at a Chipotle's after that experience.

 

There may be some places that are okay, but I would watch before ordering. I was much happier to go home and make my lunch, than to be sick for 5-6 days... and I would have been, from what I saw. Just a heads up.


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~ MsCurious ~
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#20 fugluten23

 
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Posted 03 June 2013 - 05:14 PM

Hey I'm new to the forums but I really wanted to tell what happened with my experience at Chipotle.

Now I'm not a comfirmed Celiac (the tests done on me were a big flop but the doctor told me to proceed as if I am celiac due to my severe sensitivity) but Gluten makes me so sick for days after and causes a ton of problems mentally and physically - even lightly CC'd foods affect me badly. I became Gluten Free a number of years ago and my life has improved dramatically in every aspect.

So A chipotle had opened up nearby and I started eating there for a quick lunch. It was almost as if the heavens opened up and I finally was allowed to enjoy some sort of fast food again. Quick and convenient just don't seem to be in a gluten free vocabulary book so I was really excited about this place.

The first time I ate there - I told them I had a severe gluten allergy and they kindly changed their gloves and didn't put the corn taco in the presser where other Flour tortillas had been cooked (I was getting a steak taco). I got some rice, steak, cheese and hot sauce to keep it simple and tasty. I had zero problems and felt fine after eating and no problems during the days after.

So I decided to try it again a few days later. This time I told them about the gluten allergy but they never changed their gloves and the corn taco got pressed in the presser right after a flour tortilla was pressed. I decided to try and eat it anyway (sometimes I just get soo tired of worrying constantly and annoying people to no end to make special accomodations for me but I've never caved in on eating something I know was CC'd until now - I couldn't help myself I just wanted to feel normal for once). Well, eating it was a huge mistake. About 15 minutes later my entire body (stomach especially) blew up like a balloon. I started to feel real sick like the flu was about to hit me. Then I developed a cold sweat. But then I unsuccessfully went to the bathroom and had a huge anxiety attack that left me passed out on the floor. I woke up into a pool of throw up and have been lethergic, moody, bloated and just sick in general since then (this pccured about 3 days ago).

From my experience - Chipotle is a hit or miss. If you get good servers who are knowledgeable - you may have a chance to avoid CC but from what I can see - you have to be real lucky to avoid the many instances of possible CC at this place.
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#21 plumbago

 
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Posted 06 June 2013 - 02:45 AM

What an excellent description of your  experience!

 

Since I did not follow up my earlier message, here it is. After contacting Chipotle by email (in which I reported an indifferent attitude about what it means to not have gluten), they responded to me that they would be contacting those two stores.

 

But, as you and others have described so well - there are many opportunities for cross contamination even if the server is being as diligent as possible! Depressing, no? As far as that heater/presser goes, before putting a gluten-free corn tortilla on it, it should really be cleaned, or, as in your case, skipped.

 

Plumbago


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#22 LauraTX

 
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Posted 17 September 2013 - 05:45 PM

I Love Chipotle.  Did before I went gluten-free and it is one of those places where if I am stuck away from the house, it becomes a beacon of hope against my starvation. Here is what I do:

 

1. Be super nice to the server.  This is really hard when you have terrible anxiety but try your best.  "Hi, I have an allergy to the flour tortillas so can you change your gloves for me?  I am going to get a bowl."

 

2. Order your thing, and the best part here is you can watch them make it.  You can see sometimes they will have a new thing of beans on the counter behind them ready to refill what is out there, you can sweetly ask for those.  If you see them touch the inside of your bowl with their fingers that just touched the counter, sweetly tell them you can't eat that now, can they re-start it?  Really be sickeningly sweet to them, they cannot say no.  

 

3. Have your clean gloved person make it from start to finish.  If they start to hand off to another employee, I say, "Oh, can you finish and seal it up for me since you are clean?  Thank you so much!"

 

I get: Chicken burrito bowl with brown rice, black beans, guacamole, and salsa.  If they are not busy I will sometimes ask for cheese/lettuce from the back but I will not get this off the line because they touched those gluteny tortillas and then grab that with their hands. But guac is a good substitute for cheese in my opinion.  Chips and salsa/guac are good, too.  

 

I usually go to the same Chipotle and get to-go dinner for my husband and I, and two people there will recognize me so that is super nice. "Hey you're the gluten girl right?"  And my response is "Yes, I love you by the way!"  One time I went to a random location while out and about and the guy was clueless, but nice and did what I say.  I haven't had a bad experience at Chipotle yet, if anyone was less than nice to me I would go higher up because they seem to be a pretty good company as far as customer service goes. 

 

I am hungry for Chipotle now......

 

Laura


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#23 Nikki2777

 
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Posted 18 September 2013 - 08:01 AM

Thanks, Laura, That's very helpful! - I haven't been back since that time.  Are the chips already pre-packed in bags, or do they reach into a bin with their gloves on?


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#24 LauraTX

 
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Posted 18 September 2013 - 09:43 PM

Usually they are in paper bags (not sealed just folded over at the top) already on a shelf by the cashier, I assume they make them at the beginning of the day and portion them out then.  Now I am curious, I will have to ask next time I go. 


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I am my husband's "Silly Yak Girl" :)
I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in January 2013. I also have Lupus and Common Variable Immunodeficiency(CVID) for which I am on IVIG.

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#25 CallieNYC

 
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Posted 19 September 2013 - 07:47 PM

So far Chipotle has been great to me. I explain that I need only 1 person to prepare my meal and they need to wash their hands and put on new gloves. I've never had a problem with them. Sometimes they even get new bowls and open new cheese and such. 


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#26 Celtic Queen

 
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Posted 23 September 2013 - 10:22 AM

I've also had good luck at Chipoltle.  There's one close to my work and I've eaten there several times.  Not only do they change their gloves, but they also wash their hands in between.  And one person has taken my burrito bowl all they way down the line.  Also, I've never had a problem with the chips either. I think they must package them all in the morning.

 

The only problem I've had was one girl being a little snotty once when I told her I was gluten free.  She kind of rolled her eyes at me. Luckily she wasn't the one fixing my meal, so I didn't have to worry about her being careful.  Every time I've been in since, the workers have been really nice.  And I always make a point of going overboard to thank them for helping me out.


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#27 Waitingindreams

 
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Posted 25 October 2013 - 04:49 AM

I think it depends on what location you go to. I recently went on vacation with a few friends, and we were trying to find a gluten friendly restaurant. We happened to be stopped near a Chipotles, and Chipotles was listed on the gluten free app. We went inside, and there was a sign on the counter that said to notify the server if you have any 'food allergies'. When it was my time to order, I told him I had a wheat allergy (much easier than explaining the celiac disease) and he immediately walked away and changed his gloves, then came right back. I had never eaten at Chipotles before, so I asked him what I could have. He told me that I could have a burrito bowl, so that's what I ordered. It had rice, salsa, cheese, lettuce, tomato, black beans, sour cream, and chicken - all in a bowl. I think cross contamination still would have been possible, but I didn't get sick. I believe this was in Massachusetts - I know we were on the way to Maine. It was good food and, again - I didn't get sick...so if the exact location matters to you I'm sure I can figure it out. :) I've also emailed Chipotle before about their gluten free options because I was looking for restaurants that could cater for business meetings at the firm I work at. They do seem to be aware of allergies and food intolerance...it is possible the people you talked to just didn't know what "celiac disease" was and just thought of it as a wheat allergy, or a gluten allergy. 


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#28 kate12345

 
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Posted 15 November 2013 - 06:05 AM

I cannot figure out how this place keeps getting recommended by people with Celiac.  People that I know are super careful will eat there.  I was in line one day and I watched them make the food.  They would touch the spoon that was in everything they added to the burritos  that people were getting and sticking it back in there.  I walked out and figured there is just no way that place is safe.  It is such a shame though as it would be a healthy, low risk place to eat if it were not for that.  I was so disappointed when I saw them do that. Jennifer


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#29 StromRJ

 
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Posted 18 November 2013 - 10:42 AM

Last night, I went in to Chipotle and started out by saying I needed 2 gluten free bowls. The employee said OK and proceeded to ask what type of rice I wanted. I repeated that I needed it to be gluten free and he answered angrily, asking again what kind of rice. He clearly didn't know what I was talking about. So, I started asking if he'd been trained on preparing gluten-free and that he would need to wash his hands and change his gloves. He rolled his eyes and huffed off to do so! I asked for a manager, who promptly took him to the back to counsel the employee. My order was then prepared properly and they did not charge me for any of my meal! I really appreciated the manager taking me seriously. The person ahead of me in line turned to me and agreed that the first employee was extremely rude to me. I don't like to get angry with servers about the misunderstanding, but this was clearly out of line. I will go back!


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#30 StromRJ

 
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Posted 18 November 2013 - 10:43 AM

This is my favorite verse! Thank you!


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