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Broadliners Facilitate Chipotle

Chipotle announced this week that it will expand its local produce program this summer, purchasing at least 35 percent of at least one bulk produce item in all of its restaurants from local farmers when seasonally available. This is a 10 percent increase over last year’s program, and, according to the company, the first of its kind for any national restaurant chain.

Under its local produce program, Chipotle expects to have more than 25 local farms in its network that will supply some of the romaine lettuce, green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, red onions and/or oregano served at the 860-plus Chipotle units nationwide.

“The farms generally are located within 150 miles of our distribution centers, and within about 200 miles of our restaurants,” Chris Arnold, a Chipotle spokesman, told ID. “The local produce we buy goes from the farm to our distribution centers, where it’s consolidated and delivered with the restaurants’ other purchases. Given our size and scale, it’s the only feasible way to do it,” he adds. “As much as we like the ideal of restaurant managers picking up produce at their local farmers markets, that just doesn’t work. We’ve found this distribution model to be very successful in the early going.”

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