Unknown in '99, Indispensable Now

#6

Chipotle

6/10
Putting together a burrito

Putting together a burrito

First, I love the fact that Chipotle sources all its food products from trusted farms and farmers, that the food is sustainable, and that, with 900 restaurants, the brand manages to bring really fresh food to a really wide public. All this gives me hope, because it’s just that important: clearly our food supply is not as protected as we would like to think. So, if we don’t want to get sick, we need to encourage the growth of sustainable farming. Chipotle does that at a really high volume, which means it’s an inspiration for everyone running a restaurant—whether we’re talking about high-end establishments or fast food. As American appreciation of luxocratic food—as in luxury, yet democratic—grows, Chipotle is leading the way: the lux part because they’re using very high-quality ingredients, but the democratic part is that we’re talking about tacos, here. Not to mention, anytime you can spend under 10 dollars and essentially sustain yourself for a day, it feels like a great value. Then there’s the consistency factor. They serve a limited menu; people don’t root around the menu, they fall in love with one thing (for me, it’s the burrito). The people who like these products actually love them, which means the number of repeat customers is very high. Chipotle ended up being popular without being trendy, which means that they didn’t invent the taco or anything, they’re just doing this product, that people like anyway, in an elevated way.

Cowin is the editor in chief of Food & Wine. Follow her on Twitter.

6/10

Discussion