U.S. burrito chain price gap prompts gouging accusations

Some of the diners who visited Vancouver’s new Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) following the fast-casual restaurant’s December 13 launch say they are shocked that chicken ...

Some of the diners who visited Vancouver’s new Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) following the fast-casual restaurant’s December 13 launch say they are shocked that chicken burritos cost 43% more than they do south of the border. Other CMG burritos cost more than 30% more in Canada than in the U.S.

“I would have understood and been happy if there was only a 10% difference and they charged $7 for a burrito. But $8.95? That’s gouging,” said Johnny Zakharia, who crosses the border regularly and frequently eats at some of the more than 1,350 Chipotle Mexican Grill outlets south of the border.

“There will be more people upset about the price difference when they become aware of it – especially people who regularly cross the border,” said Zakharia, who is an advocate for the homeless and the founder of the resource for the homeless BCHomeless.com.

CMG spokesperson Chris Arnold defended the price difference to Business in Vancouver.

“All of our pricing is done on a market-by-market basis, and it’s based on the cost of doing business in a given city.

“That includes everything: real estate, food costs, taxes, labour – the whole shooting match.”

The Economist magazine has what it calls a Big Mac index to gauge costs in different parts of the world. It noted in January that Big Macs cost $4.63 in Canada – 10.2% more than in the U.S.

Ever since the Canadian dollar has hovered near par with the U.S. greenback, however, consumer advocates have scrutinized products such as books, CDs and clothing from chains that operate in both countries.

Higher taxes and wages are often cited for products being priced higher in Canada.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom

comments powered by Disqus

Also Read

More From Hospitality & Tourism

When Central City’s first brewpub in Vancouver opens this summer, beer aficionados familiar with the city’s brewing history may get a little nostalgic when they ...

Read Article

The number of Canadians heading south of the border plunged year-over-year to March

Read Article

Vancouver companies muster a complex network of resources to accommodate attendees whose numbers can rival those of small towns

Read Article

Sailings to California and Hawaii provide opportunity though larger ships reveal challenges on horizon

Read Article

Passengers scan passports and get receipts much like at Vancouver International Airport

Read Article

Subscribe to our mailing lists

* indicates required

Newsletters

* You can modify your newsletter subscriptions at the bottom of any newsletter you receive.
×