My first thought when given this offer to try something “new” was how great it was that Qdoba is a part of this “new” Smart Meals Program. After doing some research of my own, I find that the Smart Meals Program has been around for quite some time, over 7 years in fact. I was pretty surprised I had never heard of this program before, so I then mention this to a few of my mom friends and they too have never heard of the Smart Meals Program. That being said, my first review of the program overall is it is a great program for restaurants to participate in, but why is it not advertised more for the consumer to be knowledgeable about?
My observation about the Smart Meals program with this particular Qdoba is the availability of these healthy choices are not easily seen by the consumer upon entering the restaurant. When I walked into the restaurant with my family, I expected to see the Smart Meals logo or emblem next to entrees on the main menu where everyone looks when they are placing their order. I did not see any information for smart meals prior to placing my order. Only after going back to sit down did I then see one of the flyers for the smart meals near the entrance of where you get in line. Now I am sure I am like many, when you walk to get in line to order your food, you are looking up at the main menu on the wall and not down low where the flyers were for smart meals. I would like to see them advertise their smart meals program entrees up on the main menu where everyone looks to decide what they are going to order for their meal.
I did enjoy trying a new entrée at Qdoba. It was the Naked Grilled Vegetarian Taco Salad. Overall, it did taste great. I liked the grilled veggies of zucchini and summer squash. Their seasoning they used on it was good. The black bean corn salsa also had a good flavor. Now with that being said, I must also say they could be a bit more generous on the portions. I know this entrée is a part of the Smart Meals Program, but to limit the squash to 5 thin slices and there were at most 10 black beans on this salad it was too small of a portion. The bulk of what you pay for is iceberg lettuce, which is fine, but iceberg lettuce has very little nutritional value to it. I have to say I would not pay full price for this meal in the future. As a rule, I have salads for lunch 95% of the time and my appetite is easily satisfied until dinnertime. With this meal, I was hungry within and hour and a half, which is not good nor fun when as my other rule is no snacking between meals. The taste of this salad was great, just a bit too stingy on the serving of grilled vegetables.
Now my son had the mini-Kids Naked Burrito. He loves this dish and I am sure he will have it again (and again) in the future. It is typically a good portion for kids with the chicken, rice, beans, and chips. He loves the chicken and always eats 100% of what is served. Now if I can only get him to consistently eat black beans and rice we’d be doing great! I know he will have this entrée in the future as he loves Qdoba chicken!
Disclosure: I received coupons for a $5 meal deal for an adult entrée as well as a free kids meal with the purchase of an adult entrée to participate in trying a couple options for the Smart Meals Program at Qdoba.