Netflix recently released a documentary about Chipotle as part of their Inside documentary series. And though it’s short (only twenty-one minutes) it’s packed with fun facts, about everything from the design of Chipotle’s chairs to where they buy their food to how they train their workers. If you want to sound well-informed at a party, but don’t want to deal with major burrito cravings right this second, then keep reading. I’ve collected the most important facts for you.
WTF is a “fast, casual eatery”?
Well for one, it’s the fastest growing food industry right now. A quick and casual restaurant is the type of place you go when you don’t have more than ten bucks in your pocket, but a greasy fast food burger doesn’t sound appealing. These places don’t have table service, but they claim to have higher quality ingredients than your average fast food joint. Chipotle is a fast, casual eatery, which is why some experts think it is so popular.
Guilt free pork and beef. (And cilantro!)
Chipotle honors food with integrity, and this doesn’t mean morally upright farm animals standing up for their civil rights, like in Animal Farm or Charlotte’s Web. And it doesn’t mean the preachy attitude often found at organic grocery stores. (Sorry that I can’t afford to buy six dollar milk, guys. Please stop giving me the organically-sourced death stare.) Chipotle spends 33% of it’s income on ingredients, and it buys more locally-sourced, naturally-raised food than any other company. Critics argue that this budget plan isn’t sustainable in the long run. Preparing food on-site, buying it fresh and local, this is all very expensive. But if Chipotle holds out, it could mean a huge change in the way a lot of restaurants are run.
The Chipotle Mafia
Who makes your burrito? Why is he making your burrito? What led him to this moment of burrito creation? These are all questions that you might not care to ask, when you’re starving and have been waiting in line for what feels like maybe twenty years. But the hiring team at Chipotle sure does. In fact, Steve Ells (the man who started Chipotle) and his team of head managers and CEOs visited almost 250 Chipotles last year, interviewing staff workers and managers and store owners, trying to find out what teams were working well, and where, and how. They want to build top teams that work together well and care. But Chipotle has gotten into some trouble for its hiring practices. In 2011, they were caught hiring illegal aliens from Mexico, and had to fire hundreds of workers. This caused a lot of backlash, as customers fought over immigration rights and if Chipotle should stand up to the American government or not.
Whether you think Chipotle will boom or bust, or if you’re just not that into Mexican food and are kind of wondering why you even read this, an insider’s glance into Chipotle can serve as an insider’s glance into a lot of places. Where did that burger you’re eating come from? And how well is the fry cook trained? Can you name everything on your plate? I love a good plate of french fries and a milkshake, just like anyone, but it’s not only important, but interesting, to think about the origin and culture of your food.