Chipotle: Slow Food Fast Food

Chipotle: Slow Food Fast Food

Jul 25

Chipotle LogoI recently found out that Chipotle — a fast-food chain! — actually supports sustainable organic and natural farming practices. According to their website, they currently get 100% of their chicken and pork, as well as 60% of their beef, from organic natural farms. (They say the only reason they don’t get 100% of their beef that way is because there simply aren’t enough sources, however they hope to remedy that in the near future.) According to a recent LA Weekly article, Steve Ells, the founder and CEO of Chipotle, said that “he has the highest food costs and the smallest profit margins of any fast food chain but he’s willing and able to absorb this.” Being a research nerd, I actually dug up the profit margins for McDonald’s (44.4%), Burger King (38.7%) and Chipotle (25.6%) last year, and it’s absolutely true. How cool is that?

Chipotle’s website really reflects their approach to animal farming, with great summaries of their philosophies and multimedia content about how it all came to be. (The page about their food sources greets you with the message, “The best way to treat animals with dignity and respect is to allow them to display their natural tendencies.”)

I never really considered the fact that some restaurants might be safe for us to eat at, guaranteeing their products as natural and organic. Here are some interesting, relevant statistics from the National Restaurant Association:

  • 73 percent of adults say they try to eat healthier now at restaurants than they did two years ago.
  • 57 percent of adults say they are likely to make a restaurant choice based on how much a restaurant supports charitable activities and the local community
  • 56 Percent of adults who say they are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers food grown or raised in an organic or environmentally friendly way.
  • 70 Percent of adults who say they are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers locally produced food items.
  • 65% of adults say their favorite restaurant foods provide flavor and taste sensations that can’t easily be duplicated in their home kitchens.

For even more info, you can download the 2010 Restaurant Industry Fact Sheet.

(Sidenote: Slow Food is an organization founded in 1989 to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world. Find out more at http://www.slowfood.com/. We’ll surely mention it many more times in our posts.)

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