TikTok is back at it. A viral video posted to the platform has been causing headaches at various Chipotle locations—yes, it’s a menu hack, and this one involves a modification to Chipotle’s quesadilla.
On December 20, user @alexis.frost (2.4M followers) posted a TikTok that showed her tasting a customized concoction allegedly suggested by a Chipotle employee. It starts with a quesadilla with extra cheese and steak added, in addition to fajita veggies. Frost says in the video that the employee told her this modification makes the quesadilla taste like a Philly cheesesteak.
I can see the appeal, since the addition of fajita vegetables adds plenty of extra flavor to the otherwise fairly plain quesadilla. But Frost’s video didn’t quite take off until a few days later, when TikTok user @keith_lee125 (6.6M followers), initially skeptical, tried the quesadilla hack and gave it his stamp of approval. He even made a custom dipping sauce for the quesadilla by combining a side of sour cream and Chipotle’s honey vinaigrette, which sounds fucking gross to me, but what do I know?
Today reports that the combination of both videos’ success was enough to launch the hack into viral territory. Countless other users began ordering it, and the flood of special requests overwhelmed some Chipotle locations, leading to frazzled employees.
This TikTok video purportedly shows a sign taped to a Chipotle register, which reads, “PROTEIN AND CHEESE ONLY ON QUESADILLA! No TikTok trends allowed.” That reads like some serious employee frustration to me. That’s fair, since this special order holds up the assembly line, potentially causing customers to pile up if the store is particularly busy.
Well, sure, but don’t all customizations take more time? you might be thinking. Because of how they’re folded and heated, quesadillas take longer to prepare than the burritos or bowls on Chipotle’s menu, so the restaurant has tried to find ways to streamline the experience. For one thing, quesadillas are meant to be a digital exclusive, meaning you can only order them through the app or website for pickup. There’s no option to add fajita veggies through those ordering channels, though, so customers have been ordering the quesadilla in person to get the Philly cheesesteak version. This requires employees to assemble the quesadilla on the front line, slowing down order progress.
A post on Reddit shows a note from January 4 that appears to be sent from Chipotle’s corporate offices to stores, instructing employees to gently remind customers that quesadillas are meant to be ordered online only. Nevertheless, the note says employees shouldn’t deny customers the “Cheesesteak/TikTok Quesadilla combination” if it’s requested in person.
“If a guest asks why this option isn’t available on our app, Chipotle.com or Chipotle.ca, please let them know we are working on adding this feature,” reads the note in part.
Laurie Schalow, chief corporate affairs officer at Chipotle, provided this statement to The Takeout:
We’re amazed by the passion of our fans and their ability to find unique ways to enjoy our hand-crafted quesadillas with Chipotle’s real ingredients. Due to the preparation time required, quesadillas were designed to be digitally exclusive to best support our team members, avoid overcrowding on our front-line, and ensure guests have a seamless experience. Currently, our quesadilla offering does not include fajita veggies with a protein, however, we are exploring the possibilities of adding this combination in the future.
If there’s money to be had in this quesadilla hacking game, you know that Chipotle would be in on it at some point—though there was no mention of possibly including a creamy combination of honey vinaigrette and sour cream on the side for dipping. (Maybe that’s because it sounds gross.)
If you’ve tasted the Philly Cheesesteak TikTok Chipotle Quesadilla, let us know in the comments. I’m always curious to see if people actually follow through with the hacks they see on TikTok and, more importantly, whether any hack is as good as the originators promise it will be. It might all just be part of the same circular chase for internet clout at the expense of fast food employees.