Chipotle’s business model has one subtle issue: the lightening quick and oft robotic preparation of my burrito, just behind an insincere sneeze screen, makes it almost impossible not to attack my burrito like a rabid werewolf when it’s done. It’s like Henry Ford got a hold of their operating manual – one team member grabs the tortilla, another scoops the rice, another dumps a choice of meat, and yet another team member takes it from there to offer up an assortment of unnamed salsas. By the time the manager rings me up, I feel like I’m behind schedule – like I should have taken a few bites before the aluminum foil was sealed around my widget – er, uh, burrito.
Here is why the issue is subtle: this is exactly why I go to Chipotle. I want it to be fast and efficient – the entire experience, including my role as patron. I want to be part of the assembly line so that I have enough time left over during my lunch break to write. I refrain from speaking during the end-to-end process, and revert to pointing and nodding as to not waste time with the potential for “hunhs?” or pleasantries. How am I? I’m feeling behind schedule, but what does that have to do with the production of burritos? Give me my burrito so I can write. And if you want me to take a few bites along the way, just ask. Just, please, don’t ask me to name the salsas.