Good question: Is Chipotle Mexican Grill coming to Florence?
Keep in mind that this is JUST A RUMOR and the supposed location would be near Magnolia Mall. But if true, I have mixed feelings about it. Here’s one each of a PRO and a CON.
First, the PRO. Chipotle has a great reputation for serving what I’ll call a healthy and sustainable menu. They call it “Food with Integrity” and describe their food philosophy this way on their website:
“It means serving the very best sustainably raised food possible with an eye to great taste, great nutrition and great value.”
“It means that we support and sustain family farmers who respect the land and the animals in their care.”
“It means that whenever possible we use meat from animals raised without the use of antibiotics or added hormones”
“And it means that we source organic and local produce when practical. And that we use dairy from cows raised without the use of synthetic hormones.”
“Food With Integrity is a journey that started more than a decade ago and one that will never end.”
It’s hard to argue with that philosophy of sourcing ingredients. You know that I firmly believe that we need to see more local produce in our local restaurants. If they come to Florence and visibly promote local ingredients by example, that would be a very good thing. And by the way who wants hormones and antibiotics in their burrito, am I right?
Now for the CON. I can’t help but think: “Do we really need yet another chain restaurant?” We have several locally-owned and operated Mexican restaurants with loyal followings that already support our communities. What will a marketing master like Chipotle (with relatively deep pockets) do to those local places’ regular trade?
Also, even if you’ve never been to a Chipotle, you know that they have something approaching a cult following. To put it in current marketing parlance, their customers a very cohesive tribe. As a foodie I can relate to that because foodies are in a tribe all their own. At the same time I know some folks that find that kind of thing (extreme brand loyalty, I mean) kinda annoying.
So, is Chipotle coming to Florence? I don’t know … yet. For now, I’m tapping some sources to find out. I’ll post an update here either way. If you happen to have any details, please contact us.
As for my purely hypothetical PRO and CON, I’ll reserve final judgement for now as to how they might balance. I would love to get your initial thoughts, however now that you have mine.
Comment Questions for You:
• If you’re a member of the Chipotle tribe, what most attracts you to the brand?
• Does the use of local ingredients make Chipotle more attractive to you?
• What impact would Chipotle have on locally-owned Mexican restaurants?
About the AuthorKevin Barron is a husband, father, self-described geek, and enthusiastic founder of PeeDeeFoodie.com. He also hosts its companion podcast, the Pee Dee Food Show, which can be found on iTunes and the blog. Learn more about Kevin under the Contributors tab above.
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I truly hope one comes to Florence! As far as it battling local Mexican restaurants, I really don't view "Chipotle" as a "Mexican" restaurant (I know it is, but stay with me): Like it says on their website, it's "gourmet tacos and burritos." Also, like you said, they promote a healthy menu and ingredients. If I want Mexican food and the atmosphere (and a big mug of Dos Equis), I'm going to Mi Tierra or others. But if I want a burrito, move over because I'm coming to ransack Chipotle. But be on the look out: the local Mexican places won't be the ones affected; Moe's will.
@Will Crosswell You make really good points about the distinctions. I can see that. Good point about Moe's as well. That hadn't crossed my mind.
I love Chipotle. I first had it last summer while in Oregon. I also had it in Texas too. I thought it was delicious and it wouldn't keep me from going to my favorite local mexican place. I would love to have one.
I'm both a local restaurant owner AND a Chipotle fan. When we moved to Florence from Minneapolis we went through Chipotle withdrawals and still always stop at Chipotle when passing through Columbia or Greenville. I would be very excited to see Chipotle in Florence. Yes, they are another chain, but they put most chains to shame both in their food quality and their environmental/socially responsible stance. I don't believe our local Mexican restaurants would be impacted dramatically (it's a fairly different offering and environment than what they provide), but Moe's days here would likely be numbered.
Oh my goodness, I hope so! We love Chipotle. Even though it's a chain...one of the food places we miss most from California.
First off, I've never eaten at Chipotle. I've heard good things, but I haven't trekked over to Rivers Avenue to try it. A lot of my friends like it though.
We have one here in Charleston, and another will locate in MtP. I don't know how it is, but the fact that we only have one here in this city, a much bigger city, makes me really hope if it does come to Florence that it makes it, and that other places stay in business. The last thing Florence needs is anything closing down there because so many GOOD places have closed.
Even though I no longer live there, if I went to Florence and wanted Mexican I would either go to Vallarta or La Bamba near the mall just because I know the owners and like eating places where I know those who work there. I don't think the people who eat at the local places will stop eating at them if Chipotle opens, almost all Mexican restaurants have that kind of brand loyalty (here too! Mine is Senor Tequila on 61!!)