After a long week of meetings, phone calls and late nights, I was relieved on Friday to have the week complete and jumped into my car for the ride home. Just a few miles from my house, my stomach began to grumble. I knew my cupboards were bare, so I stopped at a Chipotle Grill for an end-of-the-week celebratory burrito. After moving through super-efficient line, I placed my order, paid for my burrito. As I filed to my seat, I realized that Chipotle was doing a lot of things right in the transaction that I just experienced, and not just by allowing unlimited cheese or diet coke refills.
I've listed some thoughts on what other businesses might be able to learn from my burrito experience:
- Make it Simple
People can be overwhelmed by choices. Chipotle makes it easy to decide by limiting the menu to just a few items: Tacos, Salads, Burritos and Chips. That's kinda it. This makes it easier for the customer to pick and feel confident about their choice. Another smart tactic is to segment the choosing process so customers feel less overwhelmed and can process each series of questions separately (this process is the exact opposite of the drive-thru window). At Chipotle, first you pick your meat, then your beans, and so on. How would the world be different if more of our buying interactions were like this? What can mobile phone companies learn from this? And cable companies?
- Make It Fast
Chipotle is fast food and they deliver on that promise by quickly getting customers through the line in lighting speed. Unlike burger joins though, the customer is part of the process so its not just fast, but feels fast too. Instead of waiting as workers in the back throw fries into a bag like at most fast food joints, at Chipotle, the customer is required to provide input as the meal is made and the employee(s) never leaves the customer during the process. What businesses could benefit by engaging their customers during the buying process?
- Make It Easy
At Chipotle, they don't distract the customer during the buying process. They are clear on the very basic ingredients that are involved in their meals (corn, beef, etc.) have simple decorations around the restaurant and don't clutter the ordering process with punch cards, toy give-aways or other gimmicks. From the moment you walk into the restaurant, you're focused on one process at Chipotle: buying their food.
- Now Add Culture
So my previous comments were highlighting's Chipotle clean, brushed aluminum aesthetic and uncluttered atmosphere. Kinda odd now to compliment them on their relaxed, approachable tone in their marketing material, right? No, not at all. Chipotle has a clear sense of their culture as an organization and just as important, they communicate this to their customer with a focus on environmental consciousness and approachable ad copy. Adding in genuine culture into an organization is an important part of building brand loyalty.
So what companies could benefit from these Chipotle not-so-secret ingredients? Probably almost any industry. If you can think of a company or product, add a comment below.