Unquestionably, the best example of quality food in a restaurant chain in the market today is Chipotle Mexican Grill.
I met founder Steve Ells at the Chef’s Garden Food and Wine Celebration this past Jul. Steve was part of a notable panel of chefs, food editors and food writers who discussed the food system in this country, and how Gen X and, particularly, Gen Y are strongly influencing where the American food industry is headed. Steve noted that young people are “forcing the issue of transparency” about where their food is coming from, and demanding to understand the conditions the animals [in the food chain] live in.
Chipotle deliberately informs its customers about where its ingredients come from and, interestingly, most Chipotle restaurants have local (to their particular locations) sourcing. So, as an example, the sour cream Chipotle’s Ohio stores use is organic sour cream produced on one farm in Ohio.
A recent article on Caterer.com supports the notion that Chipotle’s business model has international attention. Their third restaurant will be opening in Soho (not New York City), London. Apparently, a successful trial in Charing Cross has supported Chipotle’s decision to move into European and British markets.
We’re in for an interesting evolution in fast (-forward) food.