It seems fashionable for some these days to claim not to like Chipotle. Others may, more practically, to wish to grow a business big enough to attract such detractors.
But one thing is for certain: Chipotle is rolling out a lot of burritos, and people are eating it up.
Chipotle is getting bigger and bigger
Forbes magazine called their growth ‘explosive’. Chipotle plans to open almost 200 locations in 2015, for a total of 2000 restaurants total at the end of the year. It took McDonald’s 18 years to have 2000 locations, and that was in the heavy growth decades of the 60’s and 70’s—with much less competition than today. Chipotle will get there in about 22 years after its founding in 1993, despite the huge number of choices consumers have today.
Obviously, Chipotle is doing something right to grow so fast.
Analysts talk about the technical measures, including ROI on investment, Year Over Year sales, P&E and more. The stock market seems to feel Chipotle is positioned well for long-term growth.
At the store level, a lot of consumers will talk about Chipotle’s latest announcement to ban GMOs (genetically modified organisms) from their menu, their use of organic produce, and a policy of buying locally wherever possible. Customers like what Chipotle founder Steve Ellis calls, ‘Food with integrity.’
With big volumes of transactions and swift growth come challenges. Having relevant data that is useful both to local management and to the corporation has been a real hurdle for many businesses in the past, but it is here that Chipotle has really embraced technology.
Chipotle has long utilized an information system that is integrated within each restaurant and also between all restaurants and the corporate office.
Restaurant operations are facilitated with LAN (Local Area Network) point-of-sales system that records each transaction—and prints the order in the correct location within the restaurant. This same system will batch, transmit, and authorize credit card transactions. It records time clock data from each employee. Management can generate a variety of reports and look at historical trends to predict volume and assist in inventory control. And of course, the data captured locally, when transmitted to the corporate office, enables near-real time monitoring of restaurant operations.
It’s not surprising, knowing this, to learn that Chipotle is also investing over 10M in a mobile payment system—and that they insist payments be integrated into the current Chipotle app. CFO John Hartnung cited customer dissatisfaction when a brand offers multiple apps as a major reason. Beta testing is being conducted by select current employees before roll out to the public. Rumor is that this integrated app will be able to send offers directly to consumers as well.
At first glance, it’s hard to believe how much impact a centrally designed digital information system has had upon the growth of Chipotle. But at the end of the day, orders are fulfilled quicker, daily, weekly, and seasonal demand anticipated better, sales trends better analyzed, inventory better fulfilled, and payment better taken thanks to technology.
The Chipotle data solution will soon bridge the barrier from their data to the customer’s data—every time they will use an app to pay for their order.
At 5iSolutions, Inc. we know how to harness the power of data—your data. We can safely secure it in a Cloud Vault server, and allow you to call your data up and use it wherever, whenever you need. If it’s good for a company that rolls up a lot of burritos, imagine how it can roll up profits for your business.
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