NEW YORK — Chipotle has lost its top ranking as America’s favorite Mexican-style restaurant brand. Moe’s Southwest Grill is the new favorite, knocking Chipotle out of the top slot that it’s held for years in the annual Harris PollEqui Trend.
To make matters worse, Chipotle has even fallen behind Taco Bell.
But the company’s reputation and bottom line have been plagued by a widespread e-coli health scandal that caused about 500 people to get sick last year.
Moe’s took aggressive measures to fill the vacuum. When Chipotle closed all its locations for a four-hour food safety meeting on Feb. 8, Moe’s swooped in with a full page ad in “USA Today” that chided its rival: “We’re open, especially on February 8th.”
That tactic seemed to have worked.
Qdoba Mexican Grill and Baja Fresh Mexican Grill took the fourth and fifth spots.