How Chipotle is changing the pizza industry

Chipotle is incredibly influential.

The wildly popular Mexican restaurant might be the chain to credit for the latest trend in the pizza industry: custom, artisanal pizzas.

Custom artisanal pizza chains, such as the rapidly expanding Pieology, the LeBron James-endorsed Blaze, Pie Five, and Chipotle’s own Pizzeria Locale are beginning to pop up with rising frequency.

Much like Chipotle, these pizza joints feature assembly lines. Consumers are able to customise their pizzas to suit their individual tastes, much like they are able to do with their burrito bowls at Chipotle.

Also similarly to Chipotle’s menu items, these sorts of pizzas are optimal during lunchtime. They “thrive at lunch….if the toppings are selected properly, they don’t have to be diet busters,” Dean Small, CEO of Synergy Consultants, said to Business Insider earlier this summer.

Chipotle has a reputation for being healthy — even if, at times, poorly combined menu items can make for a belt-busting meal. However, it is possible to eat very healthily at Chipotle.

Additionally, with the rise of dietary restrictions, people need options, and these places offer options for those who need to pass on cheese or gluten (similarly to Chipotle — a burrito bowl without cheese or sour cream is a gluten free, dairy free option).

Pizzeria locale chipotle denverTwitter/@PizzeriaLocalePizzeria Locale.

Originally, Pizzeria Locale was supposed to be set up a like a regular restaurant. But the Wall Street Journal reported that when Chipotle founder and CEO Steve Ells visited one Pizzeria Locale location, he had a groundbreaking idea.

 “When I walked in, I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, what if they did this in a Chipotle format?'” Ells said to the Wall Street Journal.

“We realised we could change the ways people think about pizza…how can we serve the same ingredients at less than half the price. Shockingly, it’s worked,” Ells said.

A study done by Smart Flour Foods and The Center for Generational Kinetics demonstrated that 54% millennials post pictures of their pizzas, possibly accounting for the rise of the Instagram-friendly pizza pie.

Plus, transparency between customers and the kitchen is a rising trend in the restaurant industry. In fact, that trend goes beyond the pizza industry. “Everything prepared in front of the customer is really in: Chipotle, Subway, Jersey Mike, everybody does it in front of you,” Jay Yim, CEO of Creamistry, said to Entrepreneur. “The method that we use finally allows us to freeze the ice cream in front of customers.”

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