Today's Capital Business from the Washington Post has a great interview with Chipotle (NYSE: CMG) CEO Monty Moran. (Link to the original Motley Fool Live Chat interview here.) Chipotle's had a great run of late, with the stock rising nearly 3X in less than 12 months, the pending introduction of an Asian concept and a deeper focus on using locally grown ingredients. In the brief interview, the Motley Fool staff provides a concise window into what differentiates the company and undergirds its success.
The article piqued my interest because Chipotle is one of the Transformative Companies from Built for Change (Amazon link here: http://www.amazon.com/Built-Change-Essential-Transformative-Companies/dp/0313381429/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1291391866&sr=8-2) that my publisher pushed back on. Essentially, they were flummoxed how a burrito shop could be anything but a dull throwback to the tired food retailing space. More Google and Apple, less fast food was their message. They're trying to move unit sales, after all, and tech is hot.
But as the interview points out, you don't have to be a tech company to transform your market. You just have to know what you do well. For example, when forced to offer a breakfast menu in order to secure a valuable spot at Dulles Airport, they kept to their already successful model. The money-quote from Moran:
"What we're most pleased with is that we've been able to keep the breakfast offering so simple that it didn't require significant changes to labor or operations, and didn't complicate things for customers."
The Chapter on Process emphasizes this same point and other food retailers are catching on. The latest is Vapiano, an import from Europe in the Italian Fast Casual space. The ingredients are great, but the offerings are relatively narrow. Like Chipotle, they place limits on their menu so the choices for employees and customers are straightforward. For these types of businesses, success comes from both executing well and knowing what not to do.