Call me what you want, a passivist, an altruist, maybe just a chill dude, but when I observe our competition, I don’t get anxious or ready for combat – instead I seek to learn from them, taking tips and noting trends and at times I’m hoping that we may be able to cooperate in the future.
We’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from one competitor in particular, Chipotle. I’ve always thought the layout of their stores would work conveniently for our operations and I’ve always said that if we eventually open a restaurant it would likely resemble Chipotle restaurants in its assembly line like production. However, when I saw Steve Ells, the founder and co-CEO give a speech at Wharton last year, I was struck by his passion and dedication to farm raised meats and organic and local farming practices. We started looking into buying farm raised meats and more locally farmed produce but have found that in such an early stage these products, at their significantly higher prices would bankrupt us at our current price points. We’ve been searching for suppliers and brainstorming solutions to this problem and the best thing I’ve come up with is to partner with Chipotle if they’d be so inclined. When they supply their Center City restaurants with farm raised meats maybe we could add an order in for CdT at the prices they pay or even maybe slightly higher.
You may ask why a competitor would have any interest in helping us out and my reasoning would be that Steve Ells and Chipotle stand for a food movement they call “Food with Integrity,” it’s not just around promoting their brand but rather changing the way Americans consume food and changing the way the American food industry works. They have enough scale now to truly influence American farming and we want to be part of this transformation. With the help of industry leaders who are willing to help the small guys along, we can create greater scale and greater demand in the market for farmed meats and produce. The current factory like environment is harsh on Animals and on consumers and breaking through the food industry’s standard practices seem like a vast obstacle to small entrepreneurs like CdT.
I haven’t reached out to Steve yet – it’s on my list of things to do, in the meantime if anyone has a better idea, hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a response on our blog.
For the time being, check out what Chipotle has to say about their own suppliers!