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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Taco Bell Burrito Analysis

One of the perks of my job is I get to play with numbers and put together spreadsheets. However unlike a green investment banking analyst where the final answer is already known and the intrepid Wharton grad just needs to create a model that justifies the arbitrary (and inflated) equity value that his boss gave him, my spreadsheets are optimally intended to actually solve for something unknown. So in that vein of trying to determine something unclear to the world, I decided to tackle a complex problem that seems to be plaguing Taco Bell customers across the globe.

Question: Is it more cost effective to buy a Five Layer Burrito or a Seven Layer Burrito?

The Cast of Characters

Five Layer Burrito, $0.99

Seven Layer Burrito, $2.19

In order to properly assess the value, I look at both cost per layer, as well as cost per calorie.

Tabulated Results are as follows (CLICK ON THE GRAPH TO SEE RESULTS):


From a Cost/Layer standpoint, the 5 Layer at $0.99 comes in at a respectable 20cents per layer. (PLEASE EXCUSE THE ROUNDING ERROR). The 7 Layer at $2.19 comes in at a less respectable 31cents per layer, or is 1.6x as expensive. Alternatively, if you assume that the first five layers are priced at parity with the 5 layer, then the cost of the remaining two layers balloons to 60cents, or 3.0x as expensive.

WTF is in these extra layers, Calories?

Well that is a great question, and brings us to part two of the analysis; cost/calorie. The 5 Layer clocks in at 550 calories, while the 7 layer tips the scale at a weak 510 calories. Based on a cost/calorie standpoint, the 7 layer is 2.4x as expensive.

Conclusion: Anyone that orders a 7 layer is an idiot; DON'T DO IT.

P.S. While a poor comp (i.e. does not follow the standard format of =CONCATENATE("#"," Layer"," Burrito")), I also looked at the Bean Burrito. Assuming it is a 1 Layer burrito, the bean burrito costs 5x as much as the 5 Layer on a cost/layer basis, and costs 1.5x as much on a cost/cal basis. Considering that the ingredients of a bean burrito are included in both the 5 and 7 layer (refresher on implications of this), you'd REALLY have to be dumb to order one of these.


  1. what about taste?
    Life isn't actually JUST about the numbers...or is it?
    Nice analysis, no wonder you are making the "big bucks"...

  2. The question was regarding cost-effectiveness, so taste does not factor into that analysis. However, I also would not be able to shed any light on the taste differential, because I would never make such a poor investment as buy a seven layer burrito.