One of the keys to Chipotle's explosive growth has been its industry-leading "throughput" -- the speed at which it forces its employees to pump out burritos to customers. At over 350 burritos per hour, at many stores, it's no surprise that many of Chipotle's employees are happy to see our protests. It's the only break they'll get.
A new article, "How Chipotle is going to serve burritos faster, and faster, and faster," examines Chipotle's methods:
The chain managed to speed up service by six transactions per hour at peak times this past quarter (a significant increase compared to the mere two transactions per hour it added over the previous quarter). “We achieved our fastest throughput ever,” co-CEO Steve Ells said in an earnings call yesterday. But some of Chipotle’s fastest restaurants run more than 350 transactions per hour at lunchtime, more than three times the chain-wide average, the company told investors earlier this month. “We know we have a lot of room to get faster,” said Ells.
How? By emphasizing what the company calls its slightly Maoist-sounding “four pillars of great throughput.”
Surprising to see one of the great stories of corporate capitalism channeling "Maoist" principles? You shouldn't be. Because, in so many ways, Chipotle is not the company that you might think.
Of course, let's not forget the greatest toll from the frenetic pace. The animals whose bodies are chopped up to make Chipotle's executives a big paycheck. It's up to us to ensure that this engine of violence stops.