Moe’s Southwest Grill Replaces Chipotle as “Brand of the Year” for Fast Casual Mexican Restaurants

Not only Chipotle’s sales have slipped but its position from the top ranking Mexican inspired fast food chain has also slid four positions to the fifth.

The leading place has now been occupied by Moe’s Southwest Grill, which is a Tex-Mex chain that has less than half of the Chipotle locations. Moe’s currently has 650 or more restaurants compared to 1900 or more of Chipotle’s.

Thursday’s result of the annual Harris Poll showed how people feel about different restaurant brands.

Moe’s, owned by the company which operates Auntie Anne’s and Cinnabon, a chain that serves cinnamon rolls plus different baked goods and specialty frozen beverages bagged the title of “Brand of the Year” for fast casual Mexican restaurants. Chipotle has been the winner for last three years but this year it fell behind Moe’s, Taco Bell, Qdoba and Baja Fresh.

It appears that Chipotle’s popularity was hard hit by last year’s food safety issues which cropped up from E-coli and norovirus, all food related illness outbreaks. Though the brand is trying to get a grip on its market share by offering discounts and adopting other market strategies but sales have tanked and lesser number of customers is walking through its restaurant doors.