The Greatest Fast Food Experience Ever

I LOVE Chipotle. Fresh food, always tastes great, local ingredients, friendly people, controlled chaos behind the counter. I eat there 2-4 times/week, and have literally never had anything close to a bad experience. Many have just been "to expectations". It's tough to serve that many people, in a "fast food" restaurant, and deliver a consistently great experience, right? However, today's was, truly, an Experience. My best ever at a "fast food" restaurant. Why the quotation marks? Read on.

My schedule was packed today, and it looked like the only time to get my Chipotle on was going to be around 12:15-12:30pm; I knew they would be absolutely slammed at that time. My mind flashed to the special parking space right in front of the door for customers who order via fax or online; I also remembered the special window inside where you can bypass the ordering line. So, I decided to order online with them for the first time.

Cool website! My eye immediately went to "Look Out! There's a Burrito in your iPhone!" Fun. Quick-click instructions on how to order if it's "your first time flying with Chipotle". Interesting stories. I feel cool. Part of the tribe as Seth Godin would say. Easy registration, very easy to order. In and out of the site in less than 5 minutes. Spectacular. I'm hooked. You had me at Click. Gotta try the iPhone app next time.

Drove to pick it up, and, Yes!, my space was available. Arrived about 12:35pm, ridiculously long line. No worries, I get to go right to the window, where there's no line! I feel special. Superior. Just a little guilty. A friendly associate asks with a smile and a really sincere tone if she can help me. I tell her I have an order to pickup. "Are you Ron?" Wow! Well, yes, I am, and now I feel wanted! You care about me. Where am I again? She pulls my order, already prepared and in the bag, from something that looks like a dorm fridge, but is obviously used to keep it warm. Another friendly, smiling, sincere person verifies my credit card payment (originally given when I ordered online), gives me a receipt and a smile, wishes me well, and tells me that she hopes I enjoy it and that she sees me again this weekend. Though I'm very happily married, I can't resist, and promise to see her again this weekend.

Back at my desk, the order was still really warm and perfectly prepared with my custom requests. Yummy. I'm satisfied. Truly. After a couple meetings away from my desk, I check my cell phone and see a voice mail from an unknown number, left at 2:38pm. I listen to a message from Jessica from Chipotle, who sounds very nice, like she actually cares whether my order turned out OK, and asks if I would please call her back to give some feedback. How can I resist?

When I phone the store, Tori answers on the first ring, and actually sounds disappointed that Jessica isn't there to help me immediately. She asks very politely if I can hold for just a minute, and then goes to find Jessica. Less than a minute later, Jessica asks how everything was. I'm gushing at this point; I can't possibly do this experience justice in the short time we'll have together on this call. But I try. She replies with an enthusiastic "awesome", and makes me feel like I've made her day. She thanks me, and says how much she too hopes to see me again this weekend. While I hate the thought of dividing my attention this weekend between these ladies, again, I can't resist, and promise to see Jessica again as well.

"Fast food"? Hardly.

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