Posted in: Business

Chipotle Caught Cheating Customers? Restaurant Rounds Off Checks, Gets Rid Of Pennies

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Pennies: Who needs them? That seemed to be Chipotle’s motto up until last week when the burrito chain was caught cheating its customers out of pennies.

The Huffington Post reports that Chipotle was rounding off bills so that they wouldn’t have to deal with pennies.

Accordingto the Star-Ledger’s Karen Price Mueller who investigated the strange money practice, Chipotle didn’t always round checks up to the nearest nickel. In its busiest markets, the fast food chain would round checks up or down depending on the final price of the bill. Still, some customers were confused as to why they had too much, or too little, change in their pockets.

The idea, according to spokesman Chris Arnold, is to limit the amount of cash transactions to make sure that lines keep moving. Arnold said that Chipotle wasn’t invested in some penny pinching scheme and hasn’t turned any sort of profit from the pennies.

The company did, however, recognize that the practice could anger some people. But Chipotle isn’t ready to re-instate the penny. Instead, the restaurant will no longer round checks up to the nearest nickel. Instead, people will be given up to 4 cents in savings every time they eat at Chipotle.

What do you think of Chipotle’s “no penny rule?” Do you think the penny will slowly find its way out of circulation?

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Comments

107 Responses to “Chipotle Caught Cheating Customers? Restaurant Rounds Off Checks, Gets Rid Of Pennies”

  1. Simon K Machines

    gas stations do this everytime you buy a gallon of gas. ever noticed that 9/10 of a cent? they tack it on as a round up..so if its 2.49 and 9/10s of a cent then you are actually paying 2.50 per gallon.

  2. Denise McAleer

    JCP does this but they ask you if they can round up and then they donate those funds to a charity. If Chipotle claims not to be greedy or running a scheme, then maybe they should do the same!

  3. Michael Ray

    Gas stations only round at the end of a transaction. If you by 10 gallons of gas in your scenario, its going to cost you 24.99 and not 25.00. On a side note. I will pay that extra penny if gas is at 2.49 again…

  4. Simon K Machines

    i would gladly pay 2.50 per gallon if it were 2.49 too…this 3-4$ per gallon is rediculous,but that 2.49 was an example……they been doing this forever…simply because they can.i asked a hess associate about it one day,and was told they just round it up being they dont make 9/10ths of a penny.

  5. Tj Held

    They want to get rid of the penny which the US has been playing around with for years. Canada is actually doing it. The penny does cause many issues in terms of cost of production and time wasted overall. Congrats for them to step ahead of the curve and get rid of it early. You say greedy? Well now u can go there and enjoy your 4 cent discount. Greedy I ask you, SMH.

  6. Anonymous

    There was a Richard Pryor movie about this kind of cheat – he was skimming pennies off of payroll checks. Perhaps their customers should be given their pennies back.

  7. Anonymous

    There was a Richard Pryor movie about this kind of cheat – he was skimming pennies off of payroll checks. Perhaps their customers should be given their pennies back.

  8. Don Elliott

    Wow that is earth shattering. Worst case you lose two pennies. So now they will raise all of the prices by.05 and round down from.04. Are the whiners happy now?

  9. Anonymous

    As long as they are telling the cutomer what they are doing this is fine…..but by not telling…that's just wrong…

  10. Jan Hoadley

    A few pennies is the least of it. How about the folks paying more for 'ethical' food who find out it's only "whenever possible" and when it's not available the price doesn't change. Then it can be dollars difference…but it's just marketing. Chipotle won't even address it to answer, but ban the question. "with regard to chickens, again from their annual report “As a result of ongoing supply challenges, we had to suspend serving naturally raised chicken in certain markets beginning in the second quarter of 2010. " Ethical? If they're not telling people, or guiding people to repeat the "whenever possible" mantra, perhaps it's too much to think about what about when it's not possible due to supply/cost. And with 3 restaurants needing 2,000 chickens per week, or part of (not the white meat) that's not something small farms they show in ads can do.
    Doesn't honesty matter anymore?

  11. Jan Hoadley

    A few pennies is the least of it. How about the folks paying more for 'ethical' food who find out it's only "whenever possible" and when it's not available the price doesn't change. Then it can be dollars difference…but it's just marketing. Chipotle won't even address it to answer, but ban the question. "with regard to chickens, again from their annual report “As a result of ongoing supply challenges, we had to suspend serving naturally raised chicken in certain markets beginning in the second quarter of 2010. " Ethical? If they're not telling people, or guiding people to repeat the "whenever possible" mantra, perhaps it's too much to think about what about when it's not possible due to supply/cost. And with 3 restaurants needing 2,000 chickens per week, or part of (not the white meat) that's not something small farms they show in ads can do.
    Doesn't honesty matter anymore?

  12. Justine Rose

    All those lunches at Chipotle when we were at TapouT… Good thing I always had Subway instead :)

  13. Michelle Notinterested

    Superman 3 was the movie…..on a sidenote, if we eliminate the penny now..will the nickel be next, thereby rounding up to the nearest 5 cents? Will this lead to the elimination of all change at some point to round everything up to the next whole dollar? I don't like where this is going.

  14. Michelle Notinterested

    Superman 3 was the movie…..on a sidenote, if we eliminate the penny now..will the nickel be next, thereby rounding up to the nearest 5 cents? Will this lead to the elimination of all change at some point to round everything up to the next whole dollar? I don't like where this is going.

  15. Michelle Notinterested

    Superman 3 was the movie…..on a sidenote, if we eliminate the penny now..will the nickel be next, thereby rounding up to the nearest 5 cents? Will this lead to the elimination of all change at some point to round everything up to the next whole dollar? I don't like where this is going.

  16. Shannon Sartin

    Most people aren't going to miss the pennies. I save all my change and I must say it does add up so I'm sure there making thousand a month by doing this. I don't think they should keep the money but instead give it to a feed the kids in America foundation. I think that would make most people happy and put a sign up showing they do that and it may even bring more business.

  17. Shannon Sartin

    Most people aren't going to miss the pennies. I save all my change and I must say it does add up so I'm sure there making thousand a month by doing this. I don't think they should keep the money but instead give it to a feed the kids in America foundation. I think that would make most people happy and put a sign up showing they do that and it may even bring more business.

  18. Shannon Sartin

    Most people aren't going to miss the pennies. I save all my change and I must say it does add up so I'm sure there making thousand a month by doing this. I don't think they should keep the money but instead give it to a feed the kids in America foundation. I think that would make most people happy and put a sign up showing they do that and it may even bring more business.

  19. Ken Wilright

    You are reading the signs wrong. It's not $2.49 and 9/10 of a cent for a gallon of gas. It's $2.49 for 9/10 of a gallon of gas. The price is what is stated, but you are not buying a full gallon for that price.

  20. Jennifer Kasper Colwell

    pennies have been talked about going out of circulation for years. Maybe they're just ahead of the curve? if you're so worried about saving money, don't buy the guac. And next time you're in line whining about the wait, remember the industrious cashier counting out pennies and slowing you down from getting lunch.

  21. Jennifer Kasper Colwell

    pennies have been talked about going out of circulation for years. Maybe they're just ahead of the curve? if you're so worried about saving money, don't buy the guac. And next time you're in line whining about the wait, remember the industrious cashier counting out pennies and slowing you down from getting lunch.

  22. Jennifer Kasper Colwell

    pennies have been talked about going out of circulation for years. Maybe they're just ahead of the curve? if you're so worried about saving money, don't buy the guac. And next time you're in line whining about the wait, remember the industrious cashier counting out pennies and slowing you down from getting lunch.

  23. Jennifer Kasper Colwell

    pennies have been talked about going out of circulation for years. Maybe they're just ahead of the curve? if you're so worried about saving money, don't buy the guac. And next time you're in line whining about the wait, remember the industrious cashier counting out pennies and slowing you down from getting lunch.

  24. Jennifer Kasper Colwell

    pennies have been talked about going out of circulation for years. Maybe they're just ahead of the curve? if you're so worried about saving money, don't buy the guac. And next time you're in line whining about the wait, remember the industrious cashier counting out pennies and slowing you down from getting lunch.

  25. Duc Duong

    Pennies should have been taken out of use a decade ago! It cost more to make a penny than its worth DUH!

  26. David McDougald

    Get rid of pennies already. In 1787, they made sense. 200 years later, they don't.

  27. Drisha Moore

    Its not that what Chipotle is doing isn't logical, but in some since it is illegal. We have a monetary system to avoid such confusions, and to some degree is stealing. A penny is a penny, they have no right to take or give to you a will. Just put up a sign saying " We round" and call it a day, but don't not tell me… Jeesh!

  28. Michael Ray

    Ken are you serious? That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard… The price is listed at price per gallon… in this example 2.499 per gallon

  29. Michael Ray

    That won't help once tax is added in.. there will still be change involved. And if they are rounding prices to make them "easier" for us incompetent money counters, you know the company is going to round those prices up so they aren't losing money. I'd rather have to deal with a little change than to consistently pay more for items.

  30. Stacie Liming Francis

    They could set their prices so it INCLUDES tax. Lots of places do it.

  31. Scamuel Jones

    Chipotle is a bunch of lying, scamming, cheating thieves! I won't go back. If they will steal a penny from you, they will also steal dollars from you!

  32. Anonymous

    Remember that is how Richard Pryor's Character in Superman 3 or 4 Got rich. Very funny.

  33. Anonymous

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  34. Suzy Zook Taylor Chatman

    You are right Michael, the price IS (in this example) $2.499 per gallon. Ken, you need to read the signs correctly. Many stations don't post the extra 9/10 of a cent anymore, but many do. It started as a marketing ploy and continued from there.

  35. Suzy Zook Taylor Chatman

    If anyone finds their pennies annoying, I will gladly take them!

  36. Sharon Spraker Barnes

    I stopped visiting them over their recruitment and assistance of illegal aliens. I'm really glad now. They have been caught in another scam. I"m glad I have not been back.

  37. Bruce Silverman

    Michelle Notinterested – As I mentioned in another post, it costs more than a nickel to make a nickel, it costs far more than a penny to make a penny. Something has to be done and this has been a topic of discussion for a few years now. Now you know why the Government is broke. They spend more than they take in and they spend more to create coins than they are worth.

  38. Anonymous

    You don't see Qdoba mentioned in this articale~just sayin! Love me the Q.

  39. Anonymous

    You don't see Qdoba mentioned in this articale~just sayin! Love me the Q.

  40. Anonymous

    You don't see Qdoba mentioned in this articale~just sayin! Love me the Q.

  41. Jodie Piehl

    Are you kidding? That's completely logical, why would they want to deal with logic?

  42. Jodie Piehl

    Are you kidding? That's completely logical, why would they want to deal with logic?

  43. Sonia Leedy

    that's a good thought but if they are going to cheat they will lie too!!

  44. Theresa Carey- Ryan

    Well there are a few states that prohibit that practice I would guess that is why.

  45. Theresa Carey- Ryan

    Well there are a few states that prohibit that practice I would guess that is why.

  46. Theresa Carey- Ryan

    Well there are a few states that prohibit that practice I would guess that is why.

  47. Theresa Carey- Ryan

    Well there are a few states that prohibit that practice I would guess that is why.

  48. Theresa Carey- Ryan

    Well there are a few states that prohibit that practice I would guess that is why.

  49. Theresa Carey- Ryan

    Well there are a few states that prohibit that practice I would guess that is why.

  50. Theresa Carey- Ryan

    Well there are a few states that prohibit that practice I would guess that is why.

  51. Theresa Carey- Ryan

    Well there are a few states that prohibit that practice I would guess that is why.

  52. Theresa Carey- Ryan

    Well there are a few states that prohibit that practice I would guess that is why.

  53. Anonymous

    I'm a chipotle employee.. worst company ever anyways. and for way more reasons than this.

  54. Jan Hoadley

    How about this one. They're not honest and haven't been. People *think* they have "ethical meat" but the company stresses they serve it "whenever possible." It's not always possible. They know this, as have said this and more. They don't adjust the price when it's not possible. So customers think they're eating "humane ethical meat" when in fact it's no different (when it's not possible) than any other restaurant. But customers are paying more for it. They know it, they market it, they bury questions and do not buy from small farmers represented to be sources. The fact is to be a supplier of just a few restaurants means having over 18000 birds on hand at all times. Small farms? In comparison to Tyson yes. Not what most think.

  55. Anonymous

    Cashless society; gotta start somewhere, why not with the penny? Same thing, different day. When they want to get rid of something, they start chipping away at it.

  56. Anonymous

    Corporate greed at it's finest, and an example of our humanity being eroded just a bit more as corporations assume greater and greater preeminence in our society at the expense of the common man. The ostensible reason for the banishing of the penny here was to limit cash transactions "in order to keep the lines moving", which, by inference, equates to faster service, sure, but more importantly from Chipotle's perspective, would absolutely equate to more money being generated. Chipotle netted 215 million dollars in 2011, but evidently this does not satisfy them. I don't necessarily begrudge anybody for wanting to make a buck, but it's nice to know that each of us don't constitute a living, breathing human being to be this corporation but merely a cash- (or preferably debit or credit) carrying base unit in a "line", a money-making flow of flotsam in grist mill that must be kept moving and moving ever more quickly and profitably.

  57. Chuck Monaco

    if you round pennies to the nearest nickel the most you would be out is 4 cents. if you cant afford 4 cents youre at the wrong mexican fast food joint, let me suggest del taco or toxic hell.

  58. Chuck Monaco

    if you round pennies to the nearest nickel the most you would be out is 4 cents. if you cant afford 4 cents youre at the wrong mexican fast food joint, let me suggest del taco or toxic hell.

  59. Adam Kleinman

    The Chipotle by me sets its prices so that after tax, the amount comes out to even quarter amount (.00,.25,.50,.75). No matter the combination, it always works out. This story may be talking about something different, but my situation seems to relate.

  60. Adam Kleinman

    The Chipotle by me sets its prices so that after tax, the amount comes out to even quarter amount (.00,.25,.50,.75). No matter the combination, it always works out. This story may be talking about something different, but my situation seems to relate.

  61. MaryJane Krajnak

    It's dishonest. If you don't want to deal with the pennies, tell me the price is 1.00. Don't tell me that the price is.99 and not give me back a penny change from a dollar.

  62. MaryJane Krajnak

    It's dishonest. If you don't want to deal with the pennies, tell me the price is 1.00. Don't tell me that the price is.99 and not give me back a penny change from a dollar.

  63. Sophia Smith

    Love is everything, if you find right one; love is nothing, if you find wrong one. There is no good or bad in love. All are about your choice. ~~~A g e Matching. C~oM ~~~gives you real and reliable love. We treat love seriously.

  64. Rustin Lee

    This is a smart and sensible move, that is just as much for the customer as it is for anything else – personally I hate having to deal with pennies. In the grand scheme of things, I think all of us wouldn't mind paying a few extra pennies to move the line along.

    What about the fact that you can ask Chipotle to add extra ingredients on your burrito with no charge? No other restaurant I know of allows that, I'm sure that adds up to a LOT of extra expense for them. Nobody is crying about that.

  65. Simon K Machines

    Just saying after every 10 gallons sold they get a free penny may not seem like much,but add it up after all the years of buying gas how much they have stolen from us individually,and then how much they have taken from everyone as a whole…then they have the nerve to have the prices so high. Now

  66. Karla Bye

    We noticed this not with this company but with a local KFC. However, even though the receipt stated one p rice they charged an extra twenty cents to the debit card bill. My husband brought the two receipts. So now I double look because to me that should be illegal to round anything up and I don't care what their reason is.

  67. David Arkyboy Studer

    "The company did, however, recognize that the practice could anger some people. But Chipotle isn’t ready to re-instate the penny. Instead, the restaurant will no longer round checks up to the nearest nickel. Instead, people will be given up to 4 cents in savings every time they eat at Chipotle."
    Some of you didn't bother to READ This!

  68. David Arkyboy Studer

    "The company did, however, recognize that the practice could anger some people. But Chipotle isn’t ready to re-instate the penny. Instead, the restaurant will no longer round checks up to the nearest nickel. Instead, people will be given up to 4 cents in savings every time they eat at Chipotle."
    Some of you didn't bother to READ This!

  69. Marcel Anthony Green

    are you people serious? have you been to chipotle ever? have they not given you aLL YOUR CHANGE BACK BECAUSE THEY SURE DO GIVE ME MINE PENNIES AND ALL.

  70. Anonymous

    Make money just using the Google. You choose working hours. You can make above $1500/day working for this billion dollar company. For more info visit MakeCash25.cøm

  71. Michelle Notinterested

    Amanda- Thanks..looking forward to season 7 this fall ;)
    Bruce – while the government IS broke –for sooooo many reasons—, I was commenting on the problem of private business practices.
    The fact is that printing money without the gold backing it up is going to cause a loss of value to the dollar (just check it out in currency exchange all over the world) and it leads our lawmakers to believe tney can spenda much as they want. After all, if they want more, they can just print it, right? THAT'S the logic that gets us in trouble.

  72. Anonymous

    If the German Government could make citizens push wheelbarrows of paper money to a baker for a loaf of bread…
    If the Chinese Government could have "the fen" which is like a 1/50th of a cent…then…
    What kind of BS is Chipotle pulling? Where's a "Class Action" attorney when you want one?

  73. Anonymous

    If the German Government could make citizens push wheelbarrows of paper money to a baker for a loaf of bread…
    If the Chinese Government could have "the fen" which is like a 1/50th of a cent…then…
    What kind of BS is Chipotle pulling? Where's a "Class Action" attorney when you want one?

  74. Courtney Lynn McCracken

    David Arkyboy Studer Agreed. If it doesn't work for you, eat somewhere else – or better yet – at home

  75. Fly Lowguy

    That's just plain high-handed and presumptive of the customer's ignorance. If they break a trust unilaterally like that, they had better work overtime making it up. The appearance is just small and stupidly greedy.