Chipotle. If you were to say that word in a room full of 500 college students, I would guess that 499 would know what you were talking about. And yet, when was the last time you saw a Chipotle commercial on television, or heard one on the radio? Chipotle has taken a different approach to marketing their brand that relies almost exclusively on their customers spreading the word about their food.
Although they don’t use traditional marketing techniques the restaurant has continued to grow exponentially in it’s 21 year history. Just this year they recorded a 24% increase in revenue. Other similar stores only reported 13% growth which shows that Chipotle is doing something right. After working at Chipotle for a few months I can personally say that it is unlike any other restaurant I have been in. I think the atmosphere in the store along with the quality of the product does all the marketing for itself. Chipotle also appeals to many different types of people. The “Food with Integrity” motto they use along with the vegetarian options like tofu and veggie burritos/bowls are big sellers in the environmentally conscious community, especially here in Amherst.
Chipotle is also a relatively young brand. The first restaurant was opened in 1993 in Denver, CO and since then over 1600 stores have opened all over the US, Canada, and even in France and Germany. Since it is still just a baby compared to McDonalds and other fast food chains, there is plenty of room to grow and expand. A new location opens every few days and there has not been a single one closed in the 21 year history of the chain. This is because when someone tries the food they immediately go and tell a friend how good it is. I’ve heard the statistic that when someone has a good experience they tell three people and when they have a bad one they tell nine people. Based on the number of people I have served that have never tried Chipotle before it feels like those numbers are switched. The most important thing all the way from the CEO Steve Ells down to crew members like myself is to send customers away with a smile on their face. That mentality has made Chipotle a crowd favorite and all without any other marketing besides real people telling their friends and families about the food.