When Chipotle (pronounced chi-POAT-lay) opened its first store in 1993, the idea was simple: demonstrate that food served fast didn’t have to be a “fast-food” experience. We use high-quality raw ingredients, classic cooking methods and distinctive interior design–features that are more frequently found in the world of fine dining. When we opened, there wasn’t an industry category to describe what we were doing. Some 16 years and more than 900 restaurants later, we compete in a category of dining now called “fast-casual,” the fastest growing segment of the restaurant industry, where customers expect food quality that’s more in line with full-service restaurants, coupled with the speed and convenience of fast food.
We try to do a few things really well. We elevate basic raw ingredients into food that’s richer and more sophisticated through our recipes and cooking techniques. Similarly, our restaurant design transforms simple materials in distinctive ways, giving our restaurants a style that’s more architectural in nature and less dependent on standardized design elements.
Our focus has always been on using higher-quality ingredients and cooking techniques to make great food accessible to all people at reasonable prices. But our vision has evolved. While using a variety of fresh ingredients remains the foundation of our menu, we believe that “fresh is not enough, anymore.” Now we want to know the sources for all of our ingredients, so that we can be sure they are as flavorful as possible while we are mindful of the environmental and societal impact of our business. We call this idea, Food With Integrity, and it guides how we run our business.