Using the measures of sanitation score, price and food quality, I compared Moe's and Chipotle restaurants in Columbia to determine which restaurant choice is the best choice for USC students, based on healthiness and affordability.
Sanitation ratings, administered by the Department of Health and Environmental Control, are based on the restaurant’s current sanitation and food safety practices.
Among the four Chipotle restaurants and four Moe's locations in or near the Columbia area, all locations received A's during every inspection over the last few years. However, for Chipotle, the lowest recent score was a 90, which is three points away from dipping into the B grade range of 78-87 points. Moe's, on the other hand, has had two locations receive a score of 88 within recent years, just one point away from a B sanitation score.
Why does the math matter? While an A grade indicates that the "practices scored appeared to be in the 'acceptable to very good' range," a sanitation score of B is describes that the "practices appeared to be in the 'marginal to acceptable' range."
As for the price point, an average meal at Chipotle was estimated to cost customers $11 in 2015. The Southwestern grill was criticized for a raise in their prices last year. Yet, Moe's is still slightly more expensive than Chipotle.
When it comes to food quality, Chipotle has Moe's beat again. While the two popular chains are similar in many other aspects, they differ in several key ways.
Whereas all meat and dairy are hormone- and antibiotic-free at Chipotle, the same cannot be said of Moe's. Artificial colors and hidden MSG are likewise not to be found in Chipotle ingredients but are present in the menu at Moe's.
Although loyal customers can be found on each side of the debate, in terms of sanitation, price and quality, Chipotle wins forks down.