Friday, July 29, 2011

The Chipotle Farm Team: Food with Integrity

It should come as no surprise to anyone that I love me some Chipotle.  It's a safe bet that I've eaten more Chipotle food than any other restaurant.  That's saying a lot as evidenced by the chart below...

Personal Fast Food/Quick Service Restaurant Consumption
As you'll see from the chart, McDonald's had a stronghold on my childhood, much like it does on my children.  Although I will point out that when we ask the kids where they want to grab lunch/dinner from if we're out and about "old mcdonalds" is running about 50/50 with "pot-lay" and in some cases they're close enough to each other that we can hit up a mcnugget happy meal and bring it in with us to Chipotle and everybody is happy.  As I grew older, I made a run for the border with Taco Bell and they were the recipient of a considerable amount of my discretionary income in college and a few years later.  Enter Chipotle.  Right now, they have the lion's share of my business and I don't see that changing unless a doctor orders me to stop eating there (I know you can have a high caloric and sodium intake there if you don't know what you're doing when ordering - but I know how to order my food).

As luck would have it, I was assigned their account when I entered media sales.  What up burrito bucks?!  In addition to actually working on their marketing initiatives I was bonused with these pieces of paper that entitled me to the amazing food cornucopia available at their locations.  Chips and guac?  Yeah, I'll have that too.  I have made friends with quite a few people in their company and they have always been helpful with various events and charitable endeavors that I feel both parties will benefit from.  Now Chipotle is a giant and they no longer need to run radio advertising in my market (boo) but the friendships have lasted and there is still the occasional opportunity to partner on programs so it's all good.  Let me say, I really do love just about everything Chipotle has to offer.  I hear about the benefits, the credo, the work environment and then I see the employees.  Have you ever seen a dissatisfied employee at Chipotle?  Seriously.  Think about that for a minute.  You walk in and they smile and talk to you (sometimes too quickly) and they look like they genuinely are happy that you chose their restaurant over all the other options out there.  Take that experience and compare it to ANY of the other fast food places you go to...usually, they're slower and give the impression that they don't want you there and that if you went somewhere else for your food, well, they would be just fine with that.  

This past week I was asked if I wanted to join the Chipotle Farm Team.  As a Master Burrito Ambassador (I have the certificate to prove it) I jumped at the opportunity.  Turns out, being a part of this Farm Team is right up my alley.  Margaret and I have become more educated on the food we eat and where it's coming from.  We're not fanatical about it, but we are making better decisions for our family.  We like to talk about food and we definitely love to eat.  It was suggested that I read "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and I will make that same recommendation to you now - read this book.  You need to be better informed about the choices you make in life and where your priorities lay.  Not a sermon.  Just a thought.  (yes I know I stole those last two lines from the McLean Bible Church - emphasis on "stole").  This Farm Team situation isn't your typical "loyalty rewards program" or "buy our stuff and we'll give you some of our stuff for free" program.  This is an opportunity to learn more about what makes Chipotle tick and why they make the decision they make on food selection.  I've started the process and minus the few glitches I had when I was trying to register, it's pretty cool.  

Very cool graphics walk you through the process.  Industrial farming is disgusting...I already knew this.  Chipotle wants everyone to know this too.

As you go through the process you participate in surveys, games and there there are facts and questions.  I'm pissed I got the question about the amount of sunlight a industrial farm pig receives in a day wrong.  I selected one hour thinking it was like a prison and they at least got yard time...wrong again.  No sunlight for the industrial pig.  Just a steady diet of antibiotics, corn, more meds and more corn rolling around in waste.  Bacon anyone?  

Had a semi-debate on this very subject today on my Facebook profile.  Most people do not know that Chipotle is not associated with McDonald's anymore and they were never "owned" by them.  McDonald's was a massive investor in Chipotle and had controlling interest - not ownership.  I know Chipotle uses the same distributor as McDonald's but I think that's about it.  

I didn't know the percentage was that high, but that's just nasty.  There's no way those antibiotics aren't getting into your system when you eat those way.

So, I'm really looking forward to this project.  You'll see an increased frequency of Chipotle-inspired information on my Facebook and Twitter profiles.  I'm all for food education and I know that I'm doing Chipotle's job for them by making this blog post, but it is something I believe in and I have benefited from many the free meal over the years so it's the least I can do.  Right?


  1. Absolutely! Remember, the kids recognized the Chipotle symbol before the McD's symbol. I felt that was a huge win as a parent. I enjoyed the post. I am amazed how little people care about what goes in their bodies.

  2. Nice post, Colin! So interesting...


  3. Cool. I heart Chipotle. Great food, and I pretty much eschew the other "fast food" options.

    I went vegetarian for 6 months after reading Omnivore's Dilemma, since I was mostly meat-free already.
    Now, I am lucky to be able to get good grass-fed/antibiotic-free stuff, and am eating more meat than before.
    I agree - everyone should at least KNOW what they are eating, then make their choices going forward.

  4. Excellent post!!! I just got hit up today to join the team, and I was happy to partake in this excellent adventure!!!

  5. Nice post Colin! Thank you again for your patience in resolving the registration issue that you experienced. If you have any other issues please feel free to reach out to me or customer service. You should still have my email address.



  6. Chipotley is great for the weight watcher. I love the fresh, healthy food. I was in a Chipotle restaurant yesterday,inquiring about the serving sizes so as to not exceed my 'points' for lunch, and I was given a list of nutrition values for everything...pretty cool.
    With reasonable priced eats, there isn't even a close second to Chipotle.