I’m up this morning having some coffee and watching GMA. They did a cool story on Chipotle – a now nationwide Mexican restaurant with a huge cult-like following. Their customers follow them for the four items on their menu, Four. Burritos, tacos, burrito bowls and salad bowls. That’s it. Ironically, their CEO opened his first Chipotle as a vehicle to fund a bigger, full-service, high-end restaurant. The simple concept was such a big success he opened another. Then another. Each was more successful than the last. Now 1000 are packed with burrito loving customers every day.
ABC News asked the CEO, Steve Ells, why just burritos? Why not dessert or anything else? I knew what was coming and I snapped quickly at my wife (who snarled at me for snapping) and said “Watch watch watch…listen…listen to this answer…”
“People have been asking me for years now why don’t I expand the menu. I think it’s simple. If you can focus on just a few things and do them better than anyone else, people are going to recognize that quality and they are going to come back again and again.”
I smiled and my wife and I then talked about how cool it is to focus on something simple and do just that – really well. Ignore people who want you to do more. Do what you do and and do it well and while you may turn some potential customers away – your going to make the ones that like it really really happy. Your going to create loyalty. They are going to tell their friends and family about it – because they love it. Key word is love. People love Chipotle – for its simple menu and its focus.
Chipotle – what most consider a fast food chain – does not make its customers feel like they are a fast food chain….and I think this quote from the article is a main reason why. Ells said when hiring they look for “personality over experience”. He goes on to say…
“To provide great service you need great people,” said Ells. When he hired his team of 25,000 employees, he considered a strong work ethic and positive outlook over the need for work experience. “We hired for great personality, people who are infectiously enthusiastic about serving great Chipotle food and making people happy.”
I love this story and ones like it. Businesses like Cliff Bar, Five Guys Burgers and Fries and the Flip Video Camera. They have a relentless focus. People likely ask them to do more all the time – add more features, add more products. They don’t. They leave the complicated, less focused, more featured packed products to someone else. They let others deal with trying to make everyone happy.