(Chipotle on Instagram)
Chipotle teaches employees to moderate servings of seven specific ingredients.
The ingredients, called the "critical seven," are steak, carnitas (pork), barbacoa (shredded beef), chicken, cheese, guacamole, and sour cream, according to The Wall Street Journal.
If a customer asks for an extra serving of some of those ingredients, including the meat and guacamole, employees are instructed to charge them more money.
That is because the "critical seven" are the company's most expensive ingredients.
According to an illustrated guide given to employees, the appropriate servings for every order are a 4-ounce scoop of meat and rice, 2 ounces of salsa, and 1 ounce of cheese or lettuce, The Journal reports.
Beef prices are continuing to squeeze Chipotle's profit margins.
Steak and barbacoa burritos cost the company $1 more to make than alternatives like chicken or vegetarian, executives told investors during an earnings conference call.
Global droughts have led to a shortage of beef. Chipotle has started serving conventionally raised steak in some markets to meet demand.
Consumers do eat some of that $1 cost. A steak or barbacoa burrito costs about 69 cents more in New York City. In cheaper markets like Ohio and Texas, customers pay about 40 cents more.
Chipotle executives said the chain could raise prices of beef items if the shortage continues.
The burrito chain said it did not see customers trade down to cheaper options when it last raised prices on steak and barbacoa.
The company prides itself on serving "food with integrity," which means antibiotic-free, naturally raised meats, and local produce — standards that have led to a shortage of carnitas.
Hundreds of Chipotle restaurants stopped serving pork this year after the company found that suppliers were not meeting its standards.
Ashley Lutz contributed to this story.
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