Chipotle Mexican Grill has skyrocketed to the title of fast food royalty within the past few years, drawing attention (even from Presidents who disrespect the sneeze guard) to their unique business model.
The chain offers customers a smaller menu but allows them to personalize their selection with optional pick-and-choose toppings and add-ins for taco, burritos, bowls, and salads. This model is great for the customers who know what they want (and even better for those who can get the best bang for their buck), and it’s great for the business, since the menu has very few ingredients and is easy to repeat as a franchise.
Although Chipotle has perfected this model, it is not the first fast-food chain to gain success from the assembly line. Other popular chains such as Subway, Saladworks, and Coldstone Creamery have all designed their businesses around customer customizations.
The incredible rise of trendy frozen yogurt chains like Pinkberry and Yogurtland have again proved the method can be versatile and successful. But, if you think we’ve seen all possibilities for the assembly line fast-food model, think again.
Several new chains are springing up around the country, applying the Chipotle model to new and exciting cuisines. ShopHouse offers Southeast Asian fare, Naf Naf Grill serves Mediterranean options, and How Do You Roll cranks out customizable sushi. All of these new chains use the assembly-line technique to adapt different styles of food to fit the mass-market.
Whether these or similar small franchises will take the country by storm, as Chipotle has, is unknown, but it’s clear that the assembly-line model is a clear winner. To check out a local business using the Chipotle model with Vietnamese food like Pho, check out Pho Ever Noodles right in New Hartford.
If you’re now craving Chipotle (as I am), check out these articles to make your next visit even better: