Chipotle’s Three Major Strategies

What is the first thing that appears on your mind when you think of Mexican franchise restaurant? Well, probably for many people, it would be Chipotle. Founded in 1993, Chipotle has become one of the largest fast food restaurants in the nation. It has done a great job in terms of both PR (public relations) and marketing, and thus succeeded in having a healthy brand image. Here are some marketing strategies used by Chipotle to promote its brand.

Cause Marketing

Cause marketing is a type of marketing that involves cooperative efforts between a non-profit organization and a for-profit business. Chipotle’s cause marketing focused on promoting responsible agricultural practices and sustainable food. In fact, some memorable slogans were “Chicken from Farms, Not Big Pharm,” “Pork from Farmers Not Factories,” “Farmed Friendly,” and so on. Chipotle has demonstrated that sometimes cause marketing can be more effective than directly promoting brand itself. Steve Ells, founder and CEO of Chipotle quoted, “Do the right thing for the right reasons and the right results will follow.”

Innovative Marketing

“The Scarecrow,” one of the advertisement videos produced by Chipotle, highlights the negative side of factory farming. The scarecrow is abhorred by terrible condition of the factory in the beginning; however, at the end, he opens his own burrito stand and sells burritos made out of fresh ingredients from his farm. The video was a huge success, getting over 15 million views on Youtube and receiving praises that it was an innovative piece of marketing as well as a beautiful piece of artwork.

Focusing on Food Itself

As highlighted in “The Scarecrow,” Chipotle certainly emphasizes the healthy aspect of its brand. In fact, the brand’s primary focus is on serving food with integrity. Chipotle allows customers to make their own bowls and burritos from fresh ingredients.

According to Chipotle’s Chief Creative and Development Officer Mark Crumpacker, Chipotle deliberately spends less on marketing so that they can spend more money on higher-quality ingredients. For instance, one of Chipotle’s policies is to use non-GMO ingredients solely. This eventually brings back even better marketing benefit because the brand will gain more credibility and thus have more customers. Rather than trying to impress customers with new advertisements on media such as television every time, Chipotle simply tries to stick to its primary brand message, which is “Food with Integrity.”

As such, Chipotle approaches its customers through quite unique strategies. Last year, Chipotle’s profits increased by 27%. Moreover, as the increasing number of Chipotle’s franchise stores indicates, Chipotle’s marketing indeed has been successful.

Written by Diana Kim