5 ways I think Chipotle successfully uses UX design

1. Simplicity

They specialize in one thing, burritos. They have hyper focused on making a few key, versatile ingredients the best they can in the easiest way possible, this allows for quick preparation and consistency across all locations as well as being able to master making these few ingredients as delicious as possible.

“The key is using really beautiful ingredients — and this idea of taking a very simple ingredient and making it something that’s more extraordinary is a theme at Chipotle” — Steve Ells

2. Control

The fact that you can see your burrito being made and choose what you want inside is comforting. It gives users the illusion that they are in control of their dining experience when really they aren’t. Chipotle understands the paradox of choice and wisely limits you to a combination of rice, beans, protein and toppings. They know you want that extra guac, asking you is just a way to make you feel better about getting it.

3. Flow

The layout of their restaurants is very straightforward and intuitive.You walk in the front door and usually find yourself already in line with everyone else on their lunch break. You are then moved through the buffet bar and deposited at the drink station. After that you have a choice of table to sit at with easily accessible trash cans and basket depositers usually placed next to doors. The whole experience is designed to be as efficient as possible, even their chairs are uncomfortable so you don’t stick around too long after stuffing an entire burrito in your mouth.

like this

4 + 5. #Relatable + Design

Chipotle is an extremely approachable and open brand. It’s interiors are made of recycled wood and corrugated steel, their staff is friendly and their ads and cups all have funny anecdotes or short stories printed on them by indie and well known authors. They also print some of the brown paper wrappings at the bottom of your basket with recipes for their ingredients, encouraging consumers to cook at home. They do all of this in their recycled-chic style, incorporating hand drawn type and drawings of avocados which feels more home-made and “natural”. On top of that, more or less everyone loves chipotle, it’s a fast casual place that’s withstood at least two mass food poisoning scandals.

I think the reason they’re still around [despite reduced sales for obvious reasons] is because of how user friendly their entire restaurant experience is. By providing consumers with fresh, simple ingredients and an easy dining experience they’ve made themselves a staple of the fast food industry. Hopefully this will continue working for them.

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