Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I spent half my morning in a conversation about local business growth, tourism, and the economic implications of Wal-mart versus Meijer. I love these conversations. It's all quite fascinating.

So continuing on that theme I was reading an article on Chipotle about how the restaurant went from one restuarant in 1993 to the one of (or maybe the) most popular Mexican fast food restaurants in America.

I've only had one experience with the restaurant, my sisters and I ate there while I was home this Christmas. I give the food an 8. I give the atmosphere a 2. Not somewhere I'll be sitting down and eating a meal, but as fast food goes it's pretty delicious (albiet expensive).

Added bonus? You can order your food online and bypass the inevitably long line. How cool is that?

Back to business success, it's kind of understandable considering the man who created Chipotle (Steve Ells) graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, but then again other chefs from the school have bombed so badly that they had to call in super-chef Gordon Ramsey to save them (sorry CIA, it's true). But on the other hand, this man has managed to make a $4 billion off of only three menu items (tacos, burritos, salads). They are built subway style, with the customer picking out the meat and toppings but, unlike Subway, Chipotle won't be adding more menu items any time soon.

They also have this weird philosphy about having full time permanent workers that will move up in the company, rather than part time workers who are highschoolers and college students. Personally I can't imagine wanting to work my way up in the ranks of a fastfood restaurant no matter how trendy, but evidently it's someone's dream, because they have one of the lowest turnover rates in the industry. Though I have to ask, how hard is it really to have a lower turn over rate than Taco Bell?


Emily said...

While waiting for my lunch to microwave, this sounds good.

Melody said...

Yeah, I was getting hungry writing about it.

Kenji said...

I used to eat at a Chipotle in Chicago all the time while in college. I love their food and it's relatively cheap.

As for atmosphere, you must have went to a pretty sorry place, cause the one I went to was pretty nice. Definately not 5-star, but nice.

Melody said...

Well I guess it depends on what kind of atmosphere you like. I'm not all about the warehouse look, but as far as I can tell from their website, that's standard.

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