Chipotle – Snack Well, Healthy Fast Food, And Some Troubles

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Photo produced by John Nunemaker

When we mention the U.S. cultural transmission around the world, two aspects will be involved – Hollywood film industry and American fast food. Hollywood films transmit a visual sensation; at the same time, they also intangibly import American values inside of the movies. In my mind, most of Hollywood films contain political and cultural purpose to the world. Compared with the film industry, American fast food is relatively simple, because it merely affects the world through gustation. However, in recent years, there are some denouncements such as high calories and uneven nutrition.

Today, I want to talk about Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., a low-calories Mexican fast food brand. Chipotle means a type of Mexican dried chili, which is also the logo image. Mexican love chilies, so the image of brand is an obvious symbolization of the culture. In 1993, Steve Ells founded the first restaurant in Denver, Colo. Like other Mexican restaurants, it mainly serves Mexican food such as Tacos and Burrito, but the promotion point is high-quality raw ingredients including beef, chicken, pork, rice, beans, and vegetables. Thus, customers deem Chipotle as a healthier fast food brand than other competitive corporations like McDonald’s. With the development tendency, the ibrand is loved by vegetarian and people who advocate healthy diets. Another superiority is low prices. Lower prices equal to attracting more customers because it catches millennials who possess a huge consuming ability. For examples, there is a new Chipotle opening at the central of University of Oregon at which I am studying. I pass by there every day and always can see more than 10 students lining up at the time. Hence, I believe that it happens all the time at all of universities in the U.S.

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Chipotle believes in the brand power. If Abercrombie & Fit sells its character and Hearley-Davidson sells its rebellion, Chipotle sells its idealism. The corporation has established a special lifestyle that appeals consumers about a consumption concept of sustainable development. Moreover, based on its unique marketing philosophy, Chipotle doesn’t invest much capital on traditional media for advertising. Instead, its marketing methods are spending much money on creating festivity, brewing beer, rising star chiefs and donating food. According to its Twitter account, of its published tweets usually are very short, and most of them are about guacamole which is another representative of Mexican food. Also, the tweets touch audiences in humorous way. Therefore, it depends on the value of word of mouth to expand the brand.

If you think Chipotle only serves healthy food, you probably forget its essence – fast food. Corresponding to healthy menu, it also has an “unhealthy” menu. After all, Chipotle still is a fast food chain enterprise. You can find its “junk food” that is roughly an equal amount of healthy food. This strategy gives consumers a guilty but pleasant feeling, because they can customize their combos through their moods and preferences.

However, recently, the corporation has to face two major problems – food safety and a lawsuit alleging gender discrimination. It responded and made measures to food safety through its official Twitter account and released a press. Because of the investment on the food safety and other relevant measures, its profit margin will be lower than expected. On the other hand, Chipotle is silent to the sex discrimination issue so far. Discrimination is always a serious problem to any corporation at any realm. You know that Denny’s paid a terrible price for saving its reputation from its race bias suits in 1994. Therefore, I believe that nobody wants to see that history repeats itself except Chipotle’s competitors.

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