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The Chipotle “Phone Rule” Hack Feels Like A ‘Black Mirror’ Episode

Working any customer service job is more stressful than you might think. Food service workers, especially, have to deal with a lot more than just taking your order at the register. There are usually dozens of tasks they must take on in addition to providing food, like cleaning, making meals for online orders, or dealing with unhappy customers. Recently, it looks like some workers at the popular fast food restaurant Chipotle also have to deal with being recorded while they do these jobs. This new, Black Mirror-esque trend might cause more problems than it will fix.

In May 2024, a video of a customer accusing Chipotle of “skimping on ingredients” went viral on TikTok. The restaurant chain has been accused of shrinking its portion sizes in recent months, although Chipotle execs have denied doing this. That said the business *has* continued to raise their prices: In 2023, it raised them for the fourth time in two years. Some people believe that if the restaurant continues to increase its prices, customers at least deserve larger portions.

Well, some internet users thought they found a hack to get those larger portions.

After the May 2024 TikTok went viral, some people claimed online that Chipotle staff had been told by management to increase portion sizes if they noticed a customer filming them, likely to avoid the backlash another viral video would create. It quickly became a trend for some people to film Chipotle workers as they put together their order, to see if the workers, knowing they were on camera, would give them bigger portions in their orders. Some people went in multiple times, once with a phone recording and once without, to see if the so-called Chipotle “phone rule” was true.


Also shoutout to @Joe Bonham bc the comments on his vid inspired mine. ☺️ What do we think @Chipotle #greenscreenvideo

♬ original sound – Miss G

However, in an article published on May 27, reps from the company told Forbes this was not the case. Per the article, the organization “did not issue instructions regarding filming” to staff, so while some customers may have gotten some extra food by recording the employees, it was not an company-wide rule, like some people believed.

As someone who works a food service job, the idea of customers recording me as I work makes me extremely uncomfortable. I know that many people don’t have malicious intent, and are just trying to get some extra food, but the trend could set a dangerous precedent. Constantly monitoring and pressuring employees — who are just trying to do their jobs — is taking technology too far.

Many fast food workers already work for extremely low wages, and adding to their stress by recording them is, in my opinion, just cruel. This sentiment seems to be shared by current Chipotle employees. One worker shared on Reddit, “If you put a phone in me or my crew’s face, I will not hesitate even a second to kick you out of my store … It is not fair to stick a phone in our faces and film us and make us uncomfortable while we are working.”

Jordyn Stapleton has been a National Lifestyle Writer for Her Campus since February 2023. She covers a variety of topics in her articles, but is most passionate about writing about mental health and social justice issues. Jordyn graduated from CU Boulder in December 2022 with Bachelor’s degrees in music and psychology with a minor in gender studies and a certificate in public health. Jordyn was involved in Her Campus during college, serving as an Editorial Assistant and later Editor-in-Chief for the CU Boulder chapter. She has also worked as a freelance stringer for the Associated Press. Jordyn is currently taking a gap year and working at a local business in Boulder, with hopes of attending graduate school in fall 2024. Jordyn enjoys reading, bullet journalling, and listening to (preferably Taylor Swift) music in her free time. If she isn’t brainstorming her next article, you can usually find her exploring coffee shops or hiking trails around Boulder with her friends.