After Eric STOLE my original idea to cover Starbucks, I decided to cover Chipotle. Chipotle is known as the birthplace of the fast-casual dining experience, providing a fast and casual (ha, imagine that) customer-minded service at higher quality than a typical fast-food chain, but without the sit-down atmosphere of other typical restaurants. One of the most impressive things, about Chipotle though, is its commitment to all-natural, healthy ingredients, its fair treatment of its suppliers and employees, and its commitment to using local, family-owned organic farms as its suppliers.
First is Chipotle’s commitment to using only 100% naturally-raised pork, chicken and beef. Starting in 2001, Chipotle began using only pork raised in a natural way; free of hormones and antibiotics, free to roam in natural pastures, and raised in the most humanely way possible. Most pigs are raised in more of a factory setting, kept in cages and fed millions of pounds of antibiotics a year to combat the illnesses due to captivity in cramped, dirty quarters that lack natural sunlight, vegetation, and food. Chipotle, however, only buys pork from suppliers that allow pigs to roam in open pastures, which are fed 100% natural vegetarian diets, and which are allowed to live in a free, natural environment. In 2002 this was expanded to chicken, and now all of Chipotle’s meats and dairy products come from naturally-raised livestock.
Chipotle is also industry renowned for its fair treatment of both its suppliers and employees. It’s employees are trained extremely well, and Chipotle is also known for hiring of recent immigrant workers to provide them a fresh start. Meanwhile, supplier contracts are designed to be fair and honest, in the best interest of sustainable and ethical farming and ranching. They try to partner with local, family-owned farms whenever possible, and have been using increasing amounts of organic produce; for example, almost 50% of their beans are now organic. Local suppliers also allow for fresher food and less storage time in distribution centers.
In general, I think Chipotle is a prime example of a successful stakeholder-minded company. The company’s ethical stance of sustainable farming and ranching, humane treatment of animals, environmental responsibility, and fair treatment of its small farmers and immigrant workers is a statement to its commitment to serving the greater good within its communities, and has thus generated overwhelming international support and has become one of the most highly-valued companies in the country.