Chipotle Mexican Grill is an example of a relatively recent entrant in the national fast-food space that has provided exceptional quality to customers. Chipotle started as a one-shop burrito restaurant in Denver in 1993 that today is a publicly traded company with $1.3 billion in revenues from 1,000 restaurants. The company offers fast-casual, fresh Mexican food restaurants in the United States, UK, and Canada. In 2010 it had revenues of $1.74 billion.
Chipotle has differentiated itself by catering to customers concerned about sustainability and offering high-quality, made-to-order fresh Mexican fast food. According to Chipotle’s founder, Steve Ells, who studied at the Culinary Institute of America, Chipotle buys more antibiotic-free and vegetarian-fed meat than any other restaurant in the world. All of the food at Chipotle is made fresh daily by staff who have been taught culinary skills Ells learned from the culinary institute. In addition, Chipotle is committed to buying locally when possible and supporting family farms.
In addition to offering top-quality, sustainable food products, Chipotle offers better-than-average pay for the fast food industry and offers managers lucrative financial incentives for hiring quality, such as its innovative restauranteur program. To be a restaurateur, a manager has to have a perfect store -- including a top-notch staff. Although this quality control system results in the shedding of unproductive workers, it also results in higher quality products and services.
"Every single person on the staff has to be somehow inspired and have characteristics that you can 't teach: infectious enthusiasm, honesty, clean, presentable, good hygiene, fun to talk to, great eye contact, the kind of stuff you look for in a friend," Ells said.
Chipotle could improve its service by providing a drive-up window for people using its mobile service and ordering ahead online. In addition, it may want to expand its seating
References: “Food With Integrity,” Chipotle Mexican Grill Corporate Website, http://www.chipotle.com/en-US/fwi/fwi.aspx. “It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Wrecks the Planet,” Chipotle Mexican Grill Corporate Website, http://www.chipotle.com/en-US/fwi/environment/environment.aspx. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Yahoo Finance, http://finance.yahoo.com/q/ks?s=CMG. “Quality Product and Customer Service: How Chipotle Conquered a Crowded Market,” BNET, http://www.bnet.com/blog/mba/quality-product-and-customer-service-how-chipotle-conquered-a-crowded-market/1822. “Full of Beans: How a Classically Trained Chef Reinvented Fast Food,” Knowledge@Wharton Leadership and Change Research Article, http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=2415.