Chipotle Workers Can't Stand When Customers Zig-Zag The Assembly Line

Steve Ells created the first Chipotle as a stepping stone to bigger and better restaurant dreams in 1993, according to CNBC, but this fast casual restaurant went on to hone its business model and ultimately found wild success. In 2022, Chipotle celebrated the opening of its 3,000th store.

One of the reasons Chipotle hit the ground running was its commitment to "food with integrity," Investopedia reported. Even though it costs more at the counter, customers responded by whipping out their wallets and paying the extra charges. Another aspect of Chipotle that has won over burrito lovers is the small but well-executed menu. Popular Chipotle menu items — and more or less, the only menu items — are tacos, quesadillas, burritos, and burrito bowls. This tactic helps keep the restaurants' stock of produce fresh and reduces the element of human error that can occur during busy times. The chain's small yet flexible menu also helps customers customize their own favorite dishes, which they can return for time and time again.

If you find yourself in the Chipotle line contemplating your order, there's one thing you should avoid when it's your turn.

Chipotle aims to serve efficiently

According to Harvard University's Technology and Operations Management department, Chipotle was successful in changing "the way people think about and eat fast food." While many fast food establishments use frozen ingredients that are invisible to customers in their packaged forms, Chipotle lays its fresh ingredients in front of the customer so they can choose exactly what they want.

This assembly line tactic allows employees to take orders, put them together quickly, bag them up, and then complete the transaction. But as an employee explained to Mental Floss, when customers go rogue and ditch the order of the assembly line, they're skewing the order that they're meant to go in. Chipotle employees would prefer if you selected your toppings in the specified order that has been already established.

Business Insider reported that the front line at Chipotle gets stocked before rush hour to make the employees are prepped to churn out orders. Once everything is in place, an "expediter" stands between the final burrito artist and the cashier to make sure everyone has what they need, like drinks and chips. An employee also runs interference behind the line to make sure everything is functioning as it should. With all these measures in place, Chipotle has set its process up to be easy to navigate. Do the workers a favor and go in order.