Call me a nerd, but I was flipping through the channels on T.V. and I saw a business station which was covering the story of Chipotle and I had to tune in. Before I get into the business aspect of Chipotle, or business success of the franchise, I want to discuss how much I like Chipotle. They use fresh, organic ingredients and put everything together so fast, its like healthy fast-food, what else more could you ask for? Also, I really like the condensed menu (if you remember one of my other posts I said I was very indecisive- if not I am very indecisive). You choose between a burrito, bowl, taco, I think you can even get quesadillas now too. This may not seem like many options but there are endless possibilities between salsas, vegetables, meats, etc. Wow thinking this deeply about Chipotle really makes me hungry. Their chips are even freshly made and are awesome! Their bathrooms are really cool too!
Alright, enough of torturing myself (and maybe you guys too?) thinking about Chipotle. The business special on Chipotle was really eye-opening on how far good food goes to advertise your product. Roughly, from what I remember, Chipotle spends over 60% on their ingredients. The rest is on advertising. In many fast-food chains which Chipotle is in competition with, the reverse percentages are true or there is even less spent on ingredients and more on advertising. I guess this is what puts Chipotle ahead in my book, they bring people back through good, fresh product not ingraining the thought of Chipotle in your head through constantly pestering us with advertisements. The video did say that the advertising which Chipotle does do is much different than your typical fast-food ad. They showed a concert Chipotle sponsored where they had live music and speakers who spoke about using all organic food, and against over-farming. These are two campaigns Chipotle vigorously supports. Then, Chipotle serves free food at the event.
Chipotle has been both old-school and modern in their systematic approach to delicious cuisine. The old-school part is the assembly-line nature of ordering your food. Each employee is assigned to a specific task for your burrito to be cranked out at ultra-fast speeds. The assembly line was invented a long time ago, but it has withstood the test of time and is just as useful today as it was back then. In fact, the Chipotle special showed how the restaurant is experimenting with using the Chipotle “system” with other types of food. Chipotle keeps up-to-date by taking in online orders to be ready for pick-up, so you don’t have to wait in that already rapidly moving line.
Many of you may not know this (as I learned when I watched this show) but Chipotle started off in Colorado twenty years ago. Chipotle became popular largely through word-of-mouth, and today this includes social media. When CEO Steve Ells saw all of the processed, frozen, and caged food restaurants were serving, he decided not only to go for fresh food in his restaurant but for “food with integrity”.Because they pay a larger dollar for the naturally raised, hormone free, free grazing food, they don’t have as much money to kill on advertising.
I believe Chipotle is a solid definition of today’s up-and-coming fast and fresh food market. The idea of fast, fresh, and affordable was obviously very popular for them so I foresee many other restaurants coming out with similar ideologies to match what our fast-paced, health-conscious Americans are looking for. Something else which I found very interesting from the business special on Chipotle is the t-shirts they have for sale on their website. Customers are so in to Chipotle that they make t-shirt designs, and Chipotle has put some of them on their website. Again, this is the driving force behind Chipotle’s success>fresh, high-quality ingredients>good food fast>very happy customers>food speaks for itself in advertising>customers are very passionate about Chipotle.
Finally, I forgot to mention one advertising campaign Chipotle was in the process of making when I watched this show. They were in the process of making a sitcom based upon representing Chipotle’s food in a comical manner. The show is supposed to be all online. Just another innovative way Chipotle is getting their name out there.