Chipotle Case Study

Born in the USA

Since their inception in 1993, Chipotle took the restaurant industry by storm. As a company, they represent a combination of a tightly-managed business model, a commitment to the best ingredients available, and delicious healthy food that stands out amongst greasy fast food alternatives.

Chipotle is a “fast food” restaurant with a commitment to delicious healthy food. This combination led the Denver-based company to spectacular growth in the United States.

Things became more challenging when they expanded outside of the USA and into the Canadian market.

  • Architect of record since 2006
  • Site Assessments
  • Architectural Design
  • Project & Site Management
  • Coordination with Construction Team
  • Multiple Projects Completed
  • Over 15 New Restaurants in Development
  • Projects across Canada
Doing Business Differently

Chipotle built a successful business model by committing to the highest level of quality and ensuring that quality with careful in-house control.

This is also true about how they build their restaurants. More than 20 years of building restaurants have given them the experience and processes to navigate the challenges involved in different building regulations and coordinating construction across the USA.

Moving into Canada meant whole new building codes and a need to engage an architectural firm capable of doing much more than design, this partner would be an extension to their team given the responsibility to engage local vendors and consultants, all while managing the construction process and proficiently navigating the local landscape.

An Extension of Their Team

Studio Intersekt has worked with Chipotle as an extension of their construction group since 2006.

Chipotle relies on the experience of the Studio Intersekt team to fill in the gaps that emerge in the construction process when the stakeholders are engaged remotely.

These tasks include:

  • Perform site audits, assessments and surveys
  • Provide premises delivery reviews and reports
  • Represent the client in meetings with landlords, vendors, and municipal authorities
  • Develop construction documentation using BIM
  • Manage projects from coast to coast
Studio Intersekt knows the lay of the land, they can work successfully from coast to coast and they are always on top of design changes.Cheryl Heidorn, Chipotle, Design Manager
Brand Congruency

Chipotle and Studio Intersekt work closely together to deliver the same level of quality and professionalism in the building of their Canadian restaurants that has been Chipotle’s hallmark since 1993.

Chipotle is highly committed to their brand and Studio Intersekt is equally committed to their brand management. As a result of that commitment, Studio Intersekt is engaged in a controlled process with a focus on being meticulous at every step, while providing detailed site assessments and advocating on Chipotle’s behalf.

Studio Intersekt understands their client’s expectations and makes every effort to exceed them. These expectations extend to the selection of like-minded highly-qualified engineers and consultants.

An in-depth understanding of the brand has helped Studio Intersekt to develop a high level of trust and rapport that allows Chipotle to continue to expand into the Canadian market knowing that their best interests are being looked after with the same level of commitment as in their USA locations.

The Project

When Chipotle decided to expand their business to Canada, they were looking for a Canadian architectural firm that aligned with their values, had relevant experience, could work coast-to-coast and would help them navigate the new territory.

The Problem

Chipotle’s brand and construction teams are based out of the USA for managing their American locations, but they needed a partner that could work as an extension of their team to facilitate their growth into Canada.

The challenges included:

  • Maintaining relationships with Canadian vendors
  • Deal with the logistics of construction from coast to coast
  • Meeting with landlords and stakeholders and advocating on their behalf
  • Understanding the differences of building in a Canadian market and communicate those differences to the USA team

Chipotle needed to choose a company that they could trust to handle the BIM design and manage the construction with the high standards and professionalism they were applying to the USA market.

The Solution

After interviewing several prominent firms, Chipotle selected Studio Intersekt as their Architect of Record for their Canadian expansion.

Studio Intersekt is proud to have been chosen by Chipotle to facilitate their Canadian expansion more than 10 years ago. During that time the two companies have worked together on designing multiple locations across Canada with more in development.

Chipotle has been able to rely on the experience of Studio Intersekt to leverage their industry knowledge to navigate the regional building codes and Canadian standards while still delivering the high-quality design and construction management that they required.

Studio Intersekt is licensed to practice architecture across the country and Chipotle has been able to leverage the relationships with vendors and contractors in the Canadian market to streamline the construction process.

In addition to their construction expertise, Studio Intersekt is a professional architectural and design studio that understands how to design Building Information Models. These models of Chipotle locations more accurately represent the way the location will be constructed (compared to 2D CAD drawings) and permits better communication of changes throughout the construction process.

The Client

When Chipotle opened its first restaurant in 1993, the idea was simple: show that food served fast didn’t have to be a “fast-food” experience. Using high-quality raw ingredients, classic cooking techniques, and distinctive interior design, they brought features from the realm of fine dining to the world of quick-service restaurants.

Over 20 years later, their devotion to finding the very best ingredients they can—with respect for animals, farmers, and the environment—is shown through their Food With Integrity commitment. And as they grow, their dedication to creating an exceptional experience for their customers is the natural result of cultivating a culture of genuine, rewarding opportunities for their employees.

View Chipotle’s Website