The Delicious Ingredient Qdoba's Name Actually Refers To

In 1995, the first Zuma Fresh Mexican was opened in Denver, Colorado, says Nation's Restaurant News. Just a few short years later, it became Z-Teca, before the franchise settled on the familiar name, Qdoba Mexican Grill. It finally settled on Qdoba Mexican Eats in 2015, according to QSR Magazine. Despite the myriad rebrands, Qdoba has become a powerhouse in the fast-casual restaurant sphere. Restaurant Business Online reported that in 2021, Qdoba made $878 million across 739 units.

As some of you Spanish-speaking readers may have already gathered, the word Qdoba doesn't translate to English. This has left many consumers scratching their heads, wondering exactly what the name of the beloved fast-casual burrito joint means. A 2019 social media campaign carried out by the company seemingly confirmed the ubiquity of this concern when Qdoba encouraged social media users to speculate what the letters Q.D.O.B.A stood for, with over 30,000 people engaged with the campaign, per Marketing Dive. One possible answer centered around Qdoba's liquid gold offering, queso dip.

Does the Q in Qdoba stand for queso?

In 2019, Qdoba began the marketing campaign which centered around the possible meaning of their acronymic name, via Marketing Drive. The advertisement features a narrator suggesting that Qdoba could possibly stand for, "Quickly Devouring Our Burritos Always?" Later, it mentions the restaurant's popular cheesy creation, positing that Qdoba represents, "Queso, Delicious On Basically Anything." Ultimately, the campaign's narrator reveals that Qdoba, above all else, stands for flavor.

According to Eating on a Dime, Qdoba's 3-cheese queso contains a blend of American, white American, and white Monterey Jack cheeses. Queso Diablo starts with the same cheese blend but also features jalapeños and chipotles to turn up the heat, per QSR. "Today" tells us that Qdoba's rival Chipotle also uses white Monterey Jack in its Queso Blanco, which debuted in 2020, but they mix it with white cheddar. Qdoba's recipe is comparable to a 1943 recipe released by the canned tomato and green chile mixture Ro-Tel, in that it features American cheese, according to The New Yorker.

Qdoba's menu does indeed go great with queso

Business Insider says Qdoba queso features flavors that are smoky, spicy, and complex. They also note that Qdoba queso manages to stay viscous even after sitting out for a period of time, never coagulating as it cools. Perhaps most importantly, Qdoba includes queso as a free addition to its menu items, in stark contrast to its primary burrito joint competitor Chipotle, per Fast Food Menu Prices.

At Qdoba, queso is, in all likelihood, delicious on basically everything, with the possible exception of their fountain drinks and chocolate brownie. You can add the queso to any of its staple dishes, which include burritos, tacos, quesadillas, and bowls.

Qdoba also has an Impossible meat option available for all of its dishes, which when paired with queso creates a culinary concoction sure to make vegetarians go wild.

Regardless of what Qdoba stands for, there's plenty to love about the franchise: above all, their delicious queso.