Thursday, October 14, 2010

Not So Good Eats: Fountain Square Chipotle

Has anyone else noticed a marked deterioration in the level of service at the Fountain Square Chipotle in the last few months?

I'm a frequent patron of that restaurant--far more frequent than I should be, perhaps. So it's possible that I'm hyper-sensitive to changes in the quality of the experience and food there. But I don't think so.

When the downtown Chipotle first opened, I thought it was great. The staff was friendly and the service was good. Lately, though, the opposite is true. The food prep areas always seem dirty. The line seem to constantly run out of food, making customers wait while more ingredients are prepared. The people behind the counter vary from indifferent to discourteous; the last thing on their minds seems to be waiting on customers. It's now common to feel like your order is a distraction from some conversation being carried on between employees. On a recent visit, the man working the cash register made me wait while he went somewhere behind the kitchen and retrieved his cell phone, with which he sent text messages while he assisted me and other customers.

You'd think Chipotle would view the Fountain Square restaurant as its flagship store in Cincinnati, since that is the one that will get a lot of tourist traffic, including people from areas of the country that don't presently have a Chipotle. Right now, though, I'd just as soon drive up to Clifton or Stetson Square than deal with the downtown store. Or better yet, skip Chipotle altogether, head five blocks away, and get a chorizo burrito from Taqueria Mercado.

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