Here at Spend Matters, we've been monitoring the notion of how consumers allocate dollars for Mexican food in the 'hood. Do they prefer to spend on "locally and organically sourced" food from a chain that cooks Mexican food with undocumented Mexican workers or do they prefer the real thing? That is, Mexican food from a local Mexican restaurant (where you don't ask questions about the labor or the tripe). It's a perfect comparison case in our neighborhood -- our local Chipotle is only a few doors down from our local Mexican dive, Buena Vista. And judging by the crowd trends of late at both (not to mention the above-linked Yelp ratings and commentary), Chipotle comes across as the clear loser.
This is probably not the news that Chipotle wants to hear. But consumers, when given the chance in a diverse and young urban neighborhood, appear to gravitate more to the truly "local" option even if the food might not be "locally" sourced. Besides, as believers in supplier diversity and allocating our own corporate restaurant lunch budget to small businesses, we'd rather support local immigrant entrepreneurs than a larger chain, even if we can't vouch for whether or not the chicken in that enchilada formerly roamed free or was constrained by shackles. Besides, at Chipotle, the salt levels make it difficult to detect any potential taste difference in meat or produce quality as well.