Improving Processes: Chipotle Mexican Grill

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Improving Processes: Chipotle Mexican Grill
This report is to discuss the findings from observations made at the Chipotle restaurant on Orange Avenue in downtown Orlando. Observations were made on Monday August 9, 2010 with the first time frame from noon to 1 p.m. and the second time frame from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. These observations are used to make recommendations on managing queues, process capability, and statistical process control. Observations from the two time frames will provide information regarding the process design of customers placing orders, preparation, and payment, employee duties when not preparing orders, along with the number of customers served. A stop-watch and a note pad were used to collect information. According to Chase, Jacobs, & Aquilano (2005) a company must design the product or service to be produced or delivered at a reasonable cost. Chipotle has accomplished this task. Customers receive a made-to-order menu selections consisting of a burrito, burrito bowl, crispy or soft tacos, or a salad. Selections include chicken, barbecue or free-range pork, and steak along with beans, rice, guacamole, four types of salsa, sour cream, cheese, and lettuce. Beverage items include beer choices. Customers can place orders online with payment on a secure, password protected site, faxing an order form, or using an I-Phone application. Queues

A rope divider is used at all times that guides customers to the order point. I visit Chipotle on a regular basis during peak times and I find the system adequate in moving customers through the process. Employees appear well trained in preparing the selections quickly without error. A sign should be placed to direct the pick-up of phone, fax, or I-Phone orders. Performance Metric and Process Capability

The output of Chipotle is the customer purchase of menu items. To gather data for Chipotle’s service process, I collected information on the number of customers served in one hour with respect to the number of employees on the prep line. During the peak time of noon to 1 p.m. 63 customers were served with an average of 57 seconds to complete the order. During the slow time of 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. with 18 customers were served. During the slow time employees engaged in more pleasantries with customers and customers took more time in choosing items so a little more time was used to prepare the order. Customers and employees likely feel some sense of pressure during peak times to place the order to keep the line moving. When employees were not preparing orders they were busy with other maintenance items such as refilling food items, cleaning, and stocking beverages, bags of chips, the condiment station, and bags for to-go orders. At Chipotle, the process is simple and streamlined as shown in the flow chart at the end of the paper. During my observations, three employees worked the assembly line in both periods. The steps in building a burrito are: Employee #1:

Order taking-the customer orders a burrito and then heats a flour tortilla in a press and places on a foiled wrapping paper and passes to Employee # 2. Employee #2:
Employee starts building the burrito with customer choices. Employee scoops additional items from sectioned station bins containing options and layering each item in the burrito. Customer continues to makes selections until no selections remain; the burrito is then complete. If a side of guacamole is ordered then the employee scoops a portion and places it into a separate container and caps. For dining in: burrito is placed on a tray and passed to the cashier. To-go: burrito is wrapped tightly in the foil paper and marked so the cashier knows what to charge. Employee #3:

Dine-in: employee asks if customer wants a drink or chips. If yes, the employee pulls items and places on the tray and rings up the order. If no, employee rings up order. To-go: employee asks if customer wants a drink, chips; if yes, employee pulls items and places in the...
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