Chipotle looks to change how people perceive "fast food"

In addition to the breakneck growth of Denver-based Mexican restaurant chain Chipotle over the last several years, the communications team says its biggest daily challenge is changing the perception of what people think of when they hear "fast food."

Company: Chipotle Mexican Grill
Team size: Seven
What's new: Chipotle seeks to shed the company's and sector's reputation with purpose-driven messaging

In addition to the breakneck growth of Denver-based Mexican restaurant chain Chipotle over the last several years, the communications team says its biggest daily challenge is changing the perception of what people think of when they hear "fast food."

"The more purposeful we are in changing how people think of and eat our food, maybe that 'fast food' stigma will go away," says communications director Chris Arnold.

The PR team manages media and government relations, overall company messaging, and crisis management. It also leads work for the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, which was created last fall to expand philanthropic work surrounding sustainable agriculture. Arnold also assists IR on communications materials and earnings reports.

A consumer awareness campaign on sustainability, which launched last September, will continue this year with music and food events, among other activities. A commercial featuring a two-minute animated video and performance of the song "The Scientist" by Willie Nelson, which illustrates the difference between industrial and sustainable farming, dominated Twitter in its debut during the Grammy Awards on February 12. The video also got play on Chipotle's Facebook page, its website, and YouTube, as well as a "coming attractions" slot in 5,700 theaters nationwide.

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