I recently went to Chipotle for two meals in a row (dinner on Wednesday and lunch on Thursday). It was a wonderful 18 hours, although not quite as good as the night a few years ago when I ate two Chipotle chicken burritos in one sitting (this seriously happened…a few of my friends did it too and someone made a video to document the event). Chipotle is not only one of my current favorite restaurants, I think it’s one of the greatest non-fancy-restaurants in American history; that’s right, I’d put it in the same category as places like In-N-Out Burger, Fuddrucker’s and Bonanza (I purposely left McDonald’s off this list because of the annoying “McDonald’s hangover” that sets in about 30-60 minutes after eating their addictingly good food).
Fact: Chipotle burritos are delicious! If I had the magical power to change anything about them, I wouldn’t — because they’re perfect just the way they are. As it turns out, I’m not the only person in America with a “tummy crush” (kinda like a “man crush”) on Chipotle. In fact, someone loves (or hates, potentially even fears) Chipotle so much that they created a Chipotle Nutrition Facts Calculator that allows you to select each ingredient you get in your Chipotle meal and it will calculate the nutritional information for you. Like I said, the person(s) who created this site must either love, hate or fear Chipotle, because the facts it reveals are not necessarily good news. For instance, after just a few clicks and some quick multiplication I learned that my adventure a few years ago known as the “Dos Burritos Challenge” consisted of 2068 calories (I won’t even tell you how many of those calories were from fat). To be honest, I’m not even mad…that’s impressive!
It seems Steve Ells, Chipotle’s 42-year-old founder and CEO, has found the recipe for success–in both business and burritos…keep things simple, use quality ingredients and treat your employees really well. Groundbreaking stuff, huh? Well apparently it’s working. According to a story from U.S. News & World Report last week titled “Chipotle’s Secret Salsa”, Chipotle Mexican Grill’s stock has more than quintupled since they went public in 2006. The article takes a closer look at “the most successful and perhaps the hippest” of what they call “fast casual” Mexican restaurants. Despite Chipotle’s basic menu (only three items – tacos, burritos and salad) and simple assembly line operation (ala Subway), the burrito artists at Chipotle get paid quite well (around $8.10 an hour as a starting wage) and over the last year they wrapped enough tortillas in tin foil to bring in over $1 billion in sales…and they made all that money without even having cookies (or any other dessert items) on their menu. It’s incredible! On behalf of all the Americans who contributed to that $1 billion total last year, I’d like to say thank you to Steve Ells and all the wonderful Chipotle employees for making my life a little bit better, one burrito at a time…
(click on the burrito to find a Chipotle near you.)