Tag Archives: subway

Chipotle: the model fast food chain

There are only a few places that I recommend eating at and Chipotle is one of them. The food is quality and the ownership cares equally about health and profits. Which sets them apart from all other fast food chains.

pronounced: chi-poht-lay

Our country has reached a strange time when a “green” company is booming during a recession. Yet, it is happening all across the country. Since 2006, Chipotle has tripled is revenue and doubled the number of stores.

Which makes it all the more unique that they don’t advertise on TV. They have no Ronald McDonald or Jared the weight loss wunder-kid (Subway).

Just what are they doing to convince you to buy their burritos?

They are raising prices and improving quality…and people are loving them for it!

Maybe Americans really do want good food, or perhaps they are beginning to recognize the quality difference. Either way this is worth looking into…

The story starts back in 1999, when founder Steve Ells visited a farm. What he saw was a CAFO and it disturbed him deeply. Ever since he has been on a mission to fix the problem.

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“I did not want Chipotle’s success to be tied to this kind of exploitation.”

Steve Ells, Founder & CEO

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Fast forward to today and Chipotle has one of the most effective sustainable and ethically sourced supply chains. They even buy meat from Polyface farms which was featured in the book Omnivore’s Dilemma.

They have an amazingly strong commitment to meat free of hormones, antibiotics, and cages. Produce that is organic, local, and fresh produce. Well, most of the time…

While the farmers markets in this country are exploding, the transition to big business is hitting roadblocks. Small farmers are great for us locavores, but to meet the needs of a typical Chipotle requires much more. A cooperative network of farms, trucks, coordinated deliveries, and processing facilities.

This means that Chipotle restaurants can’t go completely organic and sustainable. They have to wait for the infrastructure to be built, or build it themselves.

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Ells said in his statement to Congress:

“This move transformed the way we run our business…it set us on a journey to examine each of the ingredients we use to make our food, and how we could get them from more sustainable sources.”

Ells concedes that Chipotle’s business model is not easily replicated by other restaurant companies as the supply of ingredients from more sustainable sources is limited, and the costs tend to be higher for buyers of these better ingredients.

“Chipotle is a unique success story in that we have found a way to serve more expensive, sustainably raised ingredients, but in a way that remains affordable to the average customer.”

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I can’t say enough about what they are doing. We are all living in a better world because of their work.

If you want to learn more about Chipotle’s commitments visit their Food With Integrity program.

In the meantime, watch this 2-minute animation they made.

The song is a Willie Nelson cover of Coldplay’s “The Scientist,” and it’s pretty powerful:

This is not their first foray into the movie business. In 2009, the company sponsored free screenings of the movie Food Inc. in 32 cities.

For this short they are purchasing time to show it as a preview at 5,700 movie theaters around the country.

Thank you Chipotle!

A note on salads

I have been agitating for a while that supermarkets sell the worst kind of food. I even go so far as to say that everything they sell makes you fat.

Which consistently causes folks to disagree with me, after all 98% of Americans buy their food from them.

But, that means they have a complete monopoly on our food system, and with our health in their hands, the US obesity rate is skyrocketing to unheard-of levels.

In the fast food industry, a recent report states that Subway is now the worlds largest fast food chain, displacing McDonalds. There is also a booming salad industry with an explosion of salad fast food chains.

Perhaps the fast food industry will save us?

Well, remember the cliche: “I’m on a diet so please give me a Diet Coke instead of a Coke.”

I think that fits as an analogy here.

Just saying you’re eating a salad doesn’t mean you are eating well. One could skip the hamburger for the salad then load it up with dressing and fried chicken. A report from ABC’s Good Morning America, points out that in many cases the salad is equally fatty or worse.

They point out that iceberg lettuce, which accounts for much of the salad, has “zero nutrients and zero fiber.”

Which is where I draw the line.

The story is all wrong. Yes, iceberg lettuce can be at zero, but so can everything else we eat. Let’s not take an entire crop and label it as useless.

Instead we should understand the nature of food. First and foremost, quality is the most important aspect of food and not all are created equal. Or, put another way, vegetables that are grown from quality seeds and harvested when ripe are densely filled with nutrients.

But, if you buy vegetables from a supermarket or fast food chain, you are not getting this. Instead, you are purchasing the cheapest food money can buy. Which means they are harvested before they are ripe and grown from the cheapest seeds.

There’s more. A growing number of items, like tomatoes and strawberries, have been modified to produce extra sugars. Added together you have produce practically empty of nutrients but with extra sugar.

Fantastic.

Even if you choose the best supermarkets have to offer, you skip the dressing, choose a lean meat, and all that…then the best you can do is “the cheapest food money can buy.”

A lot like choosing the Diet Coke.

If you’re new to this, here a good way to think about it.

Take the typical supermarket salad and cut it in half. That should be your portion size when eating high quality food. It should make you feel full and it should be delicious.

The reason for this is the dense amount of nutrients in the food which also makes it taste much better. Decrease the amount of nutrients and you will increase the amount you eat. It’s as simple as that.

Now, how long do you think it will take for 2/3 of America to understand this?

Sometimes you can spot the tomatoes that are "densely packed with nutrients"

photos

salad by catsper

tomatoes by clayirving

M is for Metro

I love this picture. Found it after searching for news on the LA Metro.

You might’ve heard that we are spending some time in Hollywood trying to live the ideal life. Which might upset our car free lifestyle and test our theories on urban hipsters.

The good news is that LA’s burgeoning bike scene and growing subway system has a blog, called The Source, about all things pub trans. They do a good job including twitter tuesdays, polls, and system news. It’s pretty cool.

That’s where I found this pic, big ups to Jaime Morales for sharing it.