People love Chipotle. But sometimes a little tough love can improve a relationship, except when it comes to discussing the tenuous bond you have with your stepdad Kevin. But in Chipotle’s case? Tough love all the way. Here are all the ways it could be even better.
1. Add queso to the menu
The burrito slingers at Qdoba have the queso game on lock, but Chipotle does not seem to be in a rush to add this to its menu. And it's a damn shame, because there is no meal on planet Earth that cannot be improved with a bowl of melted cheese on the side. Even a bowl of queso is improved when another bowl of queso is placed next to it.
2. Add nachos to the menu
In the meantime, order this 5lb burrito and a side of chips.
3. Add breakfast burritos to the menu
And not just during breakfast hours! I wanna roll into a Chipotle at 1pm on a Saturday and pair it with a hot cup of Dunkin's coffee from down the street. Fun fact: it did serve breakfast burritos/tacos/bowls at two airport locations (BWI and Dulles), only to discontinue them because the travelers at those airports didn't order them/are very stupid.
4. Get rid of those uncomfortable chairs
One day, all Chipotle customers will simultaneously grab their chairs and bring them out to the parking lot to set them ablaze, dancing around the seat-filled bonfire with smiles on their faces and carnitas burritos in their hands.
5. Put BBQ-restaurant-style paper towel dispensers on tables
I always need a minimum of four napkins per visit because I eat with the intensity of a lion tearing open a zebra with his teeth, and therefore the burrito goes flying everywhere. I am not proud of this. To save me from walking across a crowded restaurant with guac falling from my beard, it'd be nice to just break off a paper towel at the table.
6. Introduce burrito rewards cards
If Chipotle gave everyone a free burrito after every 12 entrees they bought, it might cost the company a few bucks in profit, but that's a small price to pay for my unfailing loyalty. Also, my determination to buy my way to another free burrito.
7. Partner with craft breweries from coast to coast
Many locations pour margaritas and sell bottles of booze, but it seems strange that Chipotle and craft beer aren't synonymous. After all, the company's first restaurant opened in Denver, one of the country's best beer cities, and cold beer and Mexican food are a winning combination. What's stopping Chipotle from teaming up with a brewery and releasing a beer that pairs well with Mexican food that you can only get in Chipotle? Buy a kegerator for select stores, release limited quantities, make the beer with a brewery people already love, and it's a guaranteed hit.
Its relationship to the craft beer world is already in place: Chipotle's hugely popular (and free) Cultivate Festival, a food/drink/music pop-up that hits different American cities each year, pours local craft beer to the masses.
8. Add drive-thrus
Americans love anything that's convenient (see also: texting instead of a phone call, Pop-Tarts instead of a piece of fruit covered in frosting), and ordering a burrito without ever having to leave your car falls into that category.
9. Have late-night locations
McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell, and Wendy's have all figured out that people like to eat way past dinnertime, with plenty of their locations offering 24-hour drive-thrus. While that might not be operationally possible for Chipotle, staying open until midnight on Friday and Saturday night would win it a lot of new fans. Fans who just got out of the bar and are hungry for Mexican food.