Chipotle Mexican Grill, better known as Chipotle, makes me happy. As a fast food joint, it's nearly perfect (clean, tasty, affordable, socially conscious). As a business enterprise, its genius. They're successful in following through with their motto, Food With Integrity, and integrating it into ever facet of their marketing strategy. Additionally, they are one of the few businesses that still thrives off an assembly line workforce. I love having my lunch prepared by people whose daily motions epitomize their working class status. And, God-willing, they're probably not unionized.
My Chipotle is on the corner of 7th ave and 26th street. It has a badass graffito on it's plywood southern wall outside. It has an icy cold interior--the optimal kitchen working condition. It serves beer, which is the only justification I have left for drinking during work hours. And most importantly, it has the exact same inner workings as every single other Chipotle.
Except one (maybe).
My favorite part of Chipotle is the fixins stage. Four kinds of salsas, etc, no limits. It's lovely, but its also where the most amount of human error occurs (the mitigation of which is arguably the the hardest part about the franchise model). Some restaurants can spin this inevitability as "home-made", but not fast food chains. So how does one shave down the potentially hazardous chin of this highly entropic stage of the burrito making process?
At my Chipotle, they have this strategy of hiring elderly mexican (I use the term in the most ethnically ignorant sense) women --perhaps the most underrated workforce in America today, specifically for the fixings stage. These women bring decades of culinary experience to their single task of drizzling my burrito with sour cream...
..., applying the perfect scoop of salsa (a thorough understanding of each salsa's mass to spicy ratio is a necessary imperative here), and the sacred sprinkling of the queso.
Though it's technically "unskilled" labor, it takes a shit-ton of practice to fully appreciate the intricacies of a perfect burrito. At my Chipotle, they kill it -- it's a skill that tells me one thing: they gots some authentic viejas.
And they're hot!