Washington D.C.: Home of the most expensive guac at Chipotle

3 months ago by James Mattone in Trends

It's been a few months since we updated the Thinknum Media Burrito Index, our barometer that tracks relative burrito prices at Chipotle Mexican Grill ($NYSE:CMG) across the United States.

As of August 27, New York still has the most expensive average price of $6.80, while Kansas and Tennessee join Missouri as the cheapest state to get Chipotle at only $5.84.

State (Stores) Price (Average) State (Stores) Price (Average)
NY  $6.80 MN  $5.86
DC  $6.56 NC  $5.86
CT  $6.31 AR  $5.86
MA  $6.31 NM  $5.86
NJ  $6.22 DE  $5.86
CA  $6.12 LA  $5.86
VT  $6.10 MT  $5.86
ME  $6.10 ND  $5.86
RI  $6.10 MS  $5.86
MD  $6.10 IA  $5.86
NH  $6.07 OK  $5.86
OR  $6.03 WY  $5.86
PA  $6.02 UT  $5.86
WA  $6.02 AL  $5.86
VA  $6.01 IN  $5.86
NV  $6.00 KY  $5.86
WV  $5.91 MI  $5.86
IL  $5.88 SC  $5.86
ID  $5.87 WI  $5.85
FL  $5.87 AZ  $5.85
GA  $5.87 NE  $5.85
OH  $5.86 TN  $5.84
TX  $5.86 KS  $5.84
CO  $5.86 MO  $5.84

Compared to our last report around Cinco De Mayo, the Burrito Index hasn't seen any major increases or decreases in average prices outside of a couple of pennies. In fact, only 10 states saw any change in its average Chipotle prices at all over the past few months.

State (Stores) Price (August Average) Price (May Average) Price (Difference)
NH $6.07 $6.10 -$0.03
CT $6.31 $6.33 -$0.02
KS $5.84 $5.86 -$0.02
MA $6.31 $6.33 -$0.02
TN $5.84 $5.86 -$0.02
AZ $5.85 $5.86 -$0.01
IL $5.88 $5.89 -$0.01
NE $5.85 $5.86 -$0.01
WI $5.85 $5.86 -$0.01
WV $5.91 $5.90 $0.01


Nine out of the ten states saw a decrease in burrito pricing since the start of the summer, with those in New England saving a little bit more than those out West. New Hampshire Chipotle fanatics should be happy to hear that they are spending 3 cents less on every burrito thatn they did in May, which can add up over time; just think of it as a "buy 202 burritos, get one free" deal happening statewide.

Only one state had a price increase during this same period, and unfortunately for our Mountaineer friends, West Virginia is that place. Still, $5.91 for the average burrito pails in comparison to what people up the Eastern seaboard are paying, so that extra penny isn't as bad of a price to pay.

Getting into guac

While our metric has guided us well on Chipotle prices, we wanted to further improve it. Like guacamole, we're extra when it comes to data, and today, we debut the Thinknum Media Guac and Queso Index.

When we re-ran our index to only include guacamole and queso add-ons — these extras are priced separately — it turns out that the Big Apple took a backseat to another place down Interstate 95.

State (Stores) Add-ons Price (Average) State (Stores) Add-ons Price (Average)
DC  $2.03 OH  $1.65
NY  $1.84 TX  $1.65
MA  $1.81 KS  $1.65
NJ  $1.75 AZ  $1.65
CT  $1.74 NC  $1.65
VT  $1.73 MN  $1.65
ME  $1.73 MI  $1.65
RI  $1.73 IN  $1.65
MD  $1.73 MT  $1.65
CA  $1.72 SC  $1.65
NH  $1.72 ND  $1.65
OR  $1.71 WY  $1.65
WA  $1.71 MS  $1.65
PA  $1.70 AR  $1.65
VA  $1.70 NM  $1.65
NV  $1.69 DE  $1.65
WV  $1.67 OK  $1.65
IL  $1.66 IA  $1.65
NE  $1.66 LA  $1.65
FL  $1.66 UT  $1.65
ID  $1.66 KY  $1.65
WI  $1.65 AL  $1.65
CO  $1.65 TN  $1.65
GA  $1.65 MO  $1.65


Washington D.C., on average, you're really paying extra for extra.

Asking for guacamole or queso on your burrito or burrito bowl in D.C. will cost an extra two dollars and change, 38 cents (or 26%) more than what those delicious extras costs in more than half of the states where Chipotle operates. No other state — not even New York — comes within a dime and a nickle from what D.C. charges for these add-ons.

To give the nation's capital a fair shake, we re-ran the index to exclude these extras to make our new Burrito Index rankings based solely on the six main filler options for burritos and bowls. Unsurprisingly, New York is back as the most expensive place for an average Chipotle burrito, topping the rankings with an average burrito price of $8.45.

State (Stores) Burrito Price (Average) State (Stores) Burrito Price (Average)
NY  $8.45 NC  $7.26
DC  $8.07 AR  $7.26
CT  $7.84 LA  $7.26
MA  $7.81 NM  $7.26
NJ  $7.72 DE  $7.26
CA  $7.59 OK  $7.26
VT  $7.56 IA  $7.26
ME  $7.56 UT  $7.26
RI  $7.56 ND  $7.26
MD  $7.56 WY  $7.26
NH  $7.51 MT  $7.26
OR  $7.47 MS  $7.26
PA  $7.46 AL  $7.26
WA  $7.45 KY  $7.26
VA  $7.45 SC  $7.26
NV  $7.43 MI  $7.26
WV  $7.32 IN  $7.26
IL  $7.29 AZ  $7.24
ID  $7.28 CO  $7.24
FL  $7.28 TN  $7.24
GA  $7.27 MO  $7.24
TX  $7.26 WI  $7.22
OH  $7.26 KS  $7.22
MN  $7.26 NE  $7.18

Washington D.C. is still going to have the reputation for rivalling New York in having its average regular burrito price over $8, but hey, not being the most expensive location for a burrito is still a small victory.

On the other end of the index, it turns out that Nebraska was our cheapest state for a regular burrito all along; the average Chipotle there charges $7.18 for a burrito or a burrito bowl, four cents less than two other states and a staggering $1.27 less than the average Chipotle in New York. 

No matter which way we slice the data, it seems that burrito prices tend to be the lowest in states where one would have the highest purchasing power per dollar. While it is not directly in line with the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis' report on pricing parity from two years ago, the states with the more expensive burritos tend to be ones with a higher average income than what the "average American" makes. 

Of course, crossing a few state lines could help save a couple pennies on Chipotle if the order was big enough, but you would probably waste a lot of time crunching those numbers when you could be munching on some burritos instead.

James Mattone

James is a recent Boston University graduate who calls the world of esports and video games his home. As a young journalist, he has already covered two E3 expos a...

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