Do You Tip at Chipotle? Ultimate Guide


Chiptole is one of the US’s most loved Mexican grills with close to 3000 locations throughout the nation.

If you’re at Chipotle or are thinking of making a visit, you might wonder whether you need to tip when you buy your meal.

Tipping is a key part of US culture. Tip too little or not at all, and you may be failing to observe good customs. Tip too much and you’ll be hemorrhaging cash.

It’s about striking a happy balance.

To help you at Chipotle, we’ve looked at what the etiquette is, how much to tip (if anything), what Chipotle employees earn, and much more.

Keep reading to find out…

Do You Tip at Chipotle? The Short Answer

You do not have to tip at Chipotle as it’s not a table service restaurant but many people do because their workers are paid relatively low salaries. If you wish to tip, we’d suggest $3-10 depending on the size of your order.

How Much do Chipotle Workers Earn?

A key factor when deciding whether to tip is how much the worker earns.

We all know that some workers rely on tips to supplement their income.

This generally applies to restaurant and diner staff who are textbook examples.

But what about Chipotle staff?

According to Indeed, Chipotle staff earns the following sums:

Server$13.55 per hour
Cook$15.51 per hour
Shift manager$17.31 per hour
General manager$17.88 per hour

On the basis of a 40-hour work week, those salaries generate $28,000 to $37,000 per annum.

That’s well below the US average annual income which according to the Balance stood at $54,132 per year as of September.

Therefore, Chipotle workers are earning some pretty rough salaries, even at the management level.

On that basis, we think it’s fair to tip them something so they can use that money to boost their income and make it a little more palatable.

How Much to Tip a Chipotle Worker?

If you do decide to tip, you’ll want to know how much.

The typical percentage in the US is 15-20% of the total bill.

However, there is an argument at Chipotle that this should be modified given Chipotle doesn’t usually offer table service like a normal restaurant.

What usually happens is you approach the counter, you are served your food, you pay and you sit down to eat.

It’s not all that different from a fast food joint like McDonald’s, although we would say it’s slightly better as your plates are cleared by staff.

On that basis, you’re fine to reduce that percentage to something like 5-15% but we actually prefer to give a fixed amount at Chipotle of around $3-10 depending on the size of our order.

If you don’t wish to tip then you could just offer verbal praise or write a review on Google or elsewhere.

Another option is to let the cashier keep your change if you’ve paid with a bill and explain that what you’ve given should be kept and distributed as a tip around the staff.

How Much Does Food Cost at Chipotle?

Another factor to consider is how much food actually costs.

If you’re getting a good deal, you’ll probably be more inclined to tip.

Let’s take a look:

High Protein Bowl$16.15
Whole30 Salad Bowl$17.85
Vegan Bowl$10.20

Given that the average cost of a commercially made meal in the US is around $13 at this level, Chipotle’s pricing is about on the money.

It’s not too expensive, nor that cheap.

When to Tip and When Not To

fast food counter

We suggest tipping a bit more if:

  • It’s around the holidays
  • You receive excellent service
  • If you’re using a coupon or getting a discount
  • If staff go beyond the call of duty for you

You might want to withhold a tip if:

  • The food is bad
  • You’re given the wrong food
  • The server or other worker is unprofessional or rude

Final Thoughts

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to tipping at Chipotle.

The service it offers isn’t a million miles from McDonald’s where most people don’t tip so there’s no obligation to dip into your pocket.

However, we always like to tip just on the basis that Chipotle staff earns fairly poor salaries and the food is quite reasonably priced.

We think $3-10 is ample but even a non-monetary tip such as verbal praise or a Google review is better than nothing. We sometimes also let the cashier keep the change if we’re paying with dollar bills.

About the author

Oliver graduated from law school in 2008 and has practiced exclusively in the field of civil litigation for the last 10 years. He has a wealth of experience and expertise in litigation involving large financial losses and a special interest in consumer law. He has achieved numerous 7 figure settlements and has been involved in multi-billion dollar class-action consumer lawsuits against companies such as the Volkswagen Group. Away from the law, he is a consumer information and personal finance writer, having been featured in key publications such as Yahoo Finance, GO Banking Rates, NewsBreak, MEL Magazine, and many more.

-Chief Editor and Founder

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