Mark Crumpacker would love to find technology that helps speed the line at Chipotle Mexican Grill, where he serves as chief marketing officer.
Like others in similar positions, he`s got a wide palette of gee-whiz technologies at his disposal -- tablets for ordering, mobile payment systems, in-store ATM-like machines for ordering that replace cashiers. Yet he eschews most of them. He`s in no rush for tech to dramatically change the Chipotle experience at its more than 1,300 stores worldwide.
He hasn`t found the perfect solution yet. And, besides, he likes the human interaction.
That said, Chipotle, based [in Denver], happens to have a wildly popular app, a free tool that shows you where the nearest location is and lets you order and pay on the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Nearly 5 million customers have signed up since 2010 and use the app to go straight to the front of the line to pick up their orders.
Customers can also order online or via fax to bypass the line. (No Android app yet, but he says it`s in the works.)
But that`s about as far as he wants to go. A future where all orders are made digitally?
"I hope not," Crumpacker says. "I hope the experience of coming into Chipotle and ordering on the line is substantially superior to ordering on the phone. There`s all this communication as you watch what`s being made."
Less Spent on Marketing
Communication is key for Crumpacker, who like most businesses in the 21st century, is using tech to talk to customers via social media. But Chipotle, which turns 20 next year, does it differently from many competitors.
Chipotle spends just 1.75% of each sale on marketing -- the industry average is 3%-5% -- doesn`t talk about new product launches (it only has tacos, burritos, salads and bowls) and rarely offers discount coupons....
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