"Is Chipotle the new model for fast food?"
It's the question NPR asked yesterday, of a company that is expanding so quickly that it's being compared to Starbucks. In Manhattan, the restaurant has become so ubiquitous that it's difficult to turn a street corner without seeing one on the horizon.
Not only that, but the company charges a premium on its products because they are seen as humane, sustainable, and higher quality. ("The better food costs a bit more money, but consumers turn out to be happy to pay a premium for a superior product," writes Slate's Matthew Iglesias.) "Food with Integrity" is the company's motto. And the company's multimillionaire founder proudly and prominently states on the company website: "It’s our promise to run our business in a way that doesn’t exploit animals."
Massive expansion plans. Higher profit margins than almost any other company in the industry. And a feel-good message to boot... who could possibly lose?
Here's the truth:
If we want to stop the animal killing industry's continued growth (and yes, it is continuing to grow), we can't settle for the same old campaigns against the same old companies. We have to be strategic and forward thinking. We have to start thinking about effective memes and network effects. We have to confront the humane myth with a simple, direct, and strong message: Killing animals is not humane. It's not respectful. It's not even food.
It's violence. And it simply has to stop.