Why People Love Chipotle
March 10, 2015

The recent New York Times article “At Chipotle, How Many Calories Do People Really Eat?” (which reveals what we really eat when we dine at Chipotle) struck a chord with many readers — most lauded Chipotle’s tasty menu, some were surprised by the number of calories in favorite dishes, while others blamed consumers for making poor food choices. The volume of responses highlighted an important point–consumers are passionate about Chipotle, and for that reason Chipotle’s lines are out the door, literally.

In fact, data explains the chain’s success. A recent Mission Measurement consumer research survey identified how strongly Chipotle performs at delivering the social benefits that matter to consumers. Of the 50 restaurants included in the study, Chipotle falls within the top quartile of brands that deliver these important social benefits. So what are those benefits that underscore Chipotle’s high performance?

Chipotle serves healthy food at affordable prices, made of high quality and fresh ingredients. Mission Measurement’s consumer research study found that these three benefits are most important in driving consumers’ Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) choice. Moreover, Chipotle makes it easy for consumers to customize their meals so they can maximize their choice (i.e. order just one taco for portion control, no sour cream for fat count, spicy salsa for mouth burning joy), and ultimately satisfaction with their Chipotle experience. It also enables consumers to make smarter decisions by transparently breaking down the nutritional content of meals (check out their easy-to-use nutrition calculator). Transparency and customization were also identified as important benefits that consumers highly value. For all these reasons and more consumers eagerly reward Chipotle with their lunch money!

It’s no wonder Americans love Chipotle. Chipotle delivers on the very things that matter most to consumers: it serves flavorful food made with fresh, healthy ingredients, quickly, at palatable prices. If that isn’t enough, it allows (or dare I say encourages) customers to customize their meal, so that they get exactly what they want. If only all other Quick Service Restaurants would follow suit…