The strategy implemented by Chipotle is one that promotes their increasingly green “from Earth to table” supply chain. Chipotle serves “food with integrity” that is comprised of naturally raised beef, chicken, pork and organic vegetables. Their philosophy helps set them apart from competitors by creating a unique taste that is difficult to imitate. Another key part of Chipotle’s strategy is employee satisfaction. They believe that employee satisfaction will also lead to customer satisfaction. Chipotle emphasizes the importance of creating a unique customer experience to develop loyal customers and build their brand image.
Chipotle uses a network of organic farmers, rather than relying on a single supplier, to minimize the risk of supply shortages. Chipotle partners with family owned farms like Niman Ranch, Meister Cheese, and the Chef’s Garden to obtain local products. Since the cost of sourcing quality ingredients is high the prices get passed on to their customers. Chipotle attempts to reduce other operating costs to offset their transportation costs. They know that customers are willing to pay a higher cost for better quality food.
Employees play an important role in Chipotle’s success. In the early days of the restaurant, Chipotle operated under a standard hierarchy. As Chipotle promoted managers to higher positions they realized that managers were responsible for creating the overall customer experience. They do everything from ensuring the best food to hiring the best employees. In 2006 Chipotle created the “Restaurateur Program” which gives managers incentives to make a career out of their position. The program gives managers an opportunity to earn as much or more than their supervisors by receiving large bonuses if their store does well. Chipotle empowers their employees by allowing them to be creative and act as a chef would in a restaurant. They also pay their hourly employees above minimum wage and give them access to