Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Chipotle's Secret Ingredient

Misstra Knowitall enjoy Chipotle as much as the next man, but occasionally he sees things and it gives him pause. Misstra Knowitall enjoys the steak burrito with the mild and corn salsa and cheese and sour cream and occasionally lettuce and guacamole. He has a special place in his heart for that particular meal.
However, he sees things and he wonders. For instance, Misstra Knowitall has been in Chipotles all across the land. From the Midwest, to the East coast, the West coast, and every where in between. Like all voracious consumers of culture, Misstra Knowitall thinks he's an expert on the product he consumes. And his expertise has led him to the following conclusion. The restaurant has been successful because it took a simple, well-thought business model and put it into practice. And although Chipotle touts its ingredients, its most important is its least recognized:


Mexicans.

Stay with me now. Have you ever noticed that you could be in a Chipotle in any place in the world and you're going to see the same thing: the bulletproof sneeze guard, fake-ass Aztec designs, and at least three Mexicans working behind the counter. You could be in Pennsylvania or California or Baltimore or Indiana or Minneapolis or Chicago and it was all the same: One guy is chopping up beef, another's pouring a vat of guacamole, and there's a woman up front, taking orders. And for every three Mexicans you see, there has to be at least one clean-cut manager (a White man, for those that might have gotten it twisted).

It's like every store has a quota.

Do you have to prove you can hire a certain number of brown-skinned people before you can open a Chipotle? Do those brown-skinned people get the same kinds of opportunities for management training as everyone else?

(Also, why is it that I hardly ever see any Black folks being hired at Chipotle?)

I just think it seems kind of unfair that I hardly ever see Latinos in those upper positions within the restaurant. Without that kind of opportunity, the setup smacks of neo-burrito-colonialism.

I just wonder what kind of business model they're working with and what type of experience they are trying to sell the people that enter their store. Sounds like the work of Sir NoseD'Void Offunk, if you ask me.

**Update: It looks like Chipotle may not be treating it's farm workers right either. On a personal note, I hope they get this straightened out because I would hate to have to give up my beloved steak burrito.

4 comments:

Jackson said...

Slightly off topic, but I had chorrizos and some kind of spicy cactus concoction tonight at a grill inside a Mexican grocery store. Along with a guava fruit beverage in a glass bottle.

I swear that had to be the Mexican equivalent of soul food, 'cause I felt a whole lot more funky leaving the store than I did going in.

Vanessa said...

And not even necessarily Mexicans. I know for a fact that the Chipotle in B-town employed a hefty number of Colombians and Guatemalans. Are the farm workers Costa Ricans and Ecuadorans? In any case, it ain't right.

Abdel Shakur said...

You're right, V. I'm from Cali, I should know better than to lump all the brown folks together under the "Mexican" label.

But I guess one of the icky things about the Chipotle restaurant "experience" is that in a way it doesn't matter where the brown people are actually from. In Chipotleland the Mexican food is made by Mexicans. They want you to put more thought into the origin of the chicken in your burrito than the origin of the person serving it to you.

Nina K. said...

Abdel, you are seriously trippin on this one. CHIPOTLE SUCKS!!!

Formerly owned my McDonald's, it has now become happily successful all by itself. Here's all your scrumptious franchise details: http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1058090/000119312507038325/d10k.htm