The 12-Foot Conundrum

By: Lauren Magarino, E23 Staffer

Standing sturdy in all its glory. Cool and industrial in design, with what always seemed to be a perpetual line that snaked its way to the entrance doors. It was a unique haven for the famished being the closest Mexican grill; it was only a mere .4 miles away from campus. With burritos, burrito bowls, and chips and guac, it was known as every “basic girl’s” dream. It had the student body of Mizzou saying, “Oh my Goood, I love Chipotleee”.

It was not until October 23rd when a rival sprung up not four, not eight, but 12 feet away. Separated solely by an alley, one could hear the classic “Welcome to Moe’s!” from within Chipotle’s walls. Gazing out of Chipotle’s window, one could see the fiery painted walls of red and lime green that juxtaposed the cool steel and the single maroon colored wall from within. Two restaurants different in design and vibe, but similar in menu options posed what would seem to be a difficult decision for the ravenous student.

“I have been going to Chipotle for about five years,” said Mizzou freshman Brittany. “At home we did not have Moe’s, so the only options were Chipotle or Taco Bell. The decision was not really hard; we all know I chose Chipotle. The workers are really nice and they season their meats better than any other chain. I’m a college student, and I’m cheap so I always get a kids meal of two tacos, which only costs $4.80. I know what I like, and Chipotle always comes through with that.”

Aside from the important choice a customer made between which chain was better, there was a business. Each restaurant comprised of a manager, cooks, and a staff. Being served possessed one point of view. Behind the counter another story was told. Zara, a former employee of Moe’s, shaped her opinion based off of her working experience.

“I wanted a part time job in order to have extra money in my pocket, along with making $2,000 in order to establish residency in Missouri,” said Zara. “The only expectation I had was that there would be flexible scheduling since I am a full time college student. When I started working those expectations were not filled. The scheduling was overwhelming and not flexible. I worked 110 hours in a little over a week. I think what went wrong is that I threw too much on my plate, and I could not handle the demand Moe’s acquired. As a Moe’s employee I did not know I was wanted to work over 40 hours a week. As a full time student I could not handle that. But, I do think Moe’s will pose as competition against Chipotle. Moe’s Queso is liquid gold!”

Chipotle two, Moe’s zero; it appeared that one restaurant proved to be superior. But a reminder is warranted, that reminder being Moe’s is the new establishment on the block. Despite the restaurants mishaps during its’ first month, general manager Elena Holcumb, had a positive update.

“It has been good, we have just been really busy,” said Holcumb. “We are looking to go into catering. Like any business that has just opened things can be crazy. But, sales are where they need to be and things are leveling out.”

When it came to Chipotle, Holcumb shot down the idea of competition. “We both have different things to offer,” said Holcumb. “We have things that they do not have and they have things that we do not have.”

Whether a customer chose Moe’s over Chipotle, or an employee remained loyal to Chipotle over Moe’s, the conundrum would always remain. “Welcome to Moe’s” or “Food with Integrity”, the final score for each restaurant could only be determined over time with the city of Columbia as its judge.