Not even a norovirus scare can keep me a way from Chipotle!
Loved your post, Jay. As I think about Chipotle’s expansion plans, given it has only penetrated the US with ~17 locations outside the US (primarily the UK and Canada), I wonder if it will continue to implement a standardized culture and marketing strategy. While I personally think “Food with Integrity” is a differentiator, I’m not sure that’s something that other countries would value and pay for. That may be what has stopped Chipotle from expanding to international countries quickly.
Given its focus on “Food with Integrity”, it also scares me when things like the e.coli or Norovirus outbreaks happen – does committing to healthy, clean ingredients then make the PR nightmare worse when a health scare occurs?
Separately, I wonder if Chipotle will suffer the fate of other public fast casual peers that have recently gone public – Potbelly, Noodles & Company, Shake Shack, Wing Stop, etc., or if its operating model will allow the company to capture a unique spot in the market and be valued accordingly.
I personally think their business model is “gettin you on the guac”.
Awesome post! In terms of the low inventory the company maintains, how are they able to do this from a production perspective? I know that most retailers “schedule” factory time in other countries, which is partly why they produce in mass quantities given having to reschedule in peak season is incredibly expensive (and likely unavailable). Are they doing any manufacturing “in house”?
I also think it’s interesting that in a world proliferated of players offering free returns, that Everlane doesn’t (and instead charges a $5 restocking fee). This may complement their business model, though, given they are selling basics and there are likely less issues with fit when it comes to a standard cashmere sweater or cotton tee. However, I wonder how many purchases and first time costumers the company loses out on because of this decision. Freeing them of the cost of returns is probably another huge enabler for their low price model, given ~90% of retailers say that free returns is an issue they are constantly thinking about.
Great post (and arguably the best header I’ve seen). The fusion of media and technology has created a space for really innovative companies to touch millions of people in a non-capital intensive way (factories to print newspapers, delivery, etc.), so it’s cool to see Buzzfeed’s focus on human capital. Do other online generators of content have the same focus on human capital and number of employees (as a % of produced content) as Buzzfeed? Their human capital intensive business likely speaks to the incredible amount of capital they’ve raised as simply an an online media platform. It’s also interesting that it will likely be valued as a media technology company (even though it started as a Silicon Valley, off-the-cuff, “nonsense” articles). While I think the recent investment from NBCUniversal is huge for the company (both from a growth and brand legitimacy perspective), I worry a bit about scalability, given how the creative, start-up type culture and low level of bureaucracy is critical to the quality of writers and ultimate articles published. The question of scalability makes me a little skeptical of the company’s current valuation.
I’d be curious to hear if Johnah Peretti initially intended for Buzzfeed to pivot from memes to serious content, and how (if at all) the operating model has shifted with the shifted focus of the business model. If it wasn’t his initial intention, I wonder if the desire to attract more advertiser content encouraged the pivot.