I went into a Chipotle the other day and came to an interesting realization. No, it wasn’t that I could get sick. Sorry Chipotle. While Chipotle has had its problems recently, there are many reasons for its wide-spread success. One of those reasons, I realized, was their exceptional system for creating burritos. I worked on the manufacturing floor creating processes for years so I understand the relationship between people and process very well and was able to recognize some of the detail behind Chipotle’s system. You can watch a short video of my chipotle experience here, but I’ll explain it in this article in even greater detail.
If you notice, when you order a chipotle burrito, you get almost the exact same burrito every time. And how is that? It’s because their system for creating burritos is so good. Chipotle starts with the exact same size piece of foil and places the exact same size tortilla on top of it. Every. Time. Then they flow through their ingredients, which are in the exact same order….every time. They use the exact same size spoon for every ingredient they offer AND every employee folds the burrito and wraps it in the foil the exact same way as well. This process happen regardless of which burrito is ordered, which location you’re at, or which employee is there making the burrito. What’s the end result? For us consumers, it’s the same delicious burrito you expect every time you order. Or in other words, CONSISTENCY! McDonalds has been the model of consistency for years and has been proving to us that consistency is more important to customers than just the quality of the product.
But what are the benefits to the business? Why does Chipotle as a business care about systems and more importantly, why do YOU care about systems in YOUR business?
The benefits are actually right there in the word. SYSTEM stands for Saving Your Self Time Energy and Money. Systems don’t have to be complex. It can be as simple as a written step-by-step procedure. It could be an audio, a picture, or a short video. Think about it. How much easier would it be for you and your team to set-up your next event, purchase your next house, or follow-up with your next client if you could simply reference a procedure you’ve already created instead of having to think about and formulate your process in your head every time? What if you and your team could reference one of your best sales calls on audio or watch a short video to see how you created and set-up your last event display? How much time, energy, and money would that save you? What if you and your team perform this procedure 100 times, how much more does that procedure save you? 100 times more! By developing their burrito-making system, Chipotle made it possible for EVERY employee to make EVERY one of their burritos. And as we discussed at the beginning, they don’t just make them, they make them CONSISTENTLY well.
When I talk to business owners, many times I hear them talk about employee or people problems. Here’s a question for you…is it a people problem or a SYSTEMS problem? Do you think Chipotle needs to hire the best burrito-making employees in the country? Absolutely not. They have such a great system in place that they really just need people that are ready and willing to follow their system.
So how can you improve the SYSTEMS in your business to really enable the people that are working for you?
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★ Sean Schoenmakers ★
Owner ★ Business Profit & Growth Specialist ★ Speaker