Oct. 18, 2010
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So here's my theory. Chipotle Mexican Grill is the photo-negative of MacDonald’s. Both establishments are owned by the same conglomerate. The way I see it, there were a bunch of executives sitting around realizing that there was a demographic that would not eat at MacDonald’s out of a matter of principle: it's traditional "American" food, it's processed food - salted and fried, it's all plastic and cartoonish. So how to get this demographic of younger, multicultural, eco-green-minded college students fed up with corporate America's consumer culture?

Enter Chipotle, in which the MacDonald’s Corporation holds a majority interest. Where Macdonald’s has florescent lighting, Chipotle has incandescent. Where MacDonald’s is American, Chipotle is "multicultural". Where MacDonald’s has smooth plastic booths and chairs, Chipotle has bare metal furnishings with nuts and bolts clearly visible under the exposed ductwork above. Where MacDonald’s is pre-prepared from a set menu, Chipotle is made to your order in front of you. Where Macdonald’s is blended off "mystery meats" like chicken nuggets, Chipotle offers "fresh, natural foods". MacDonald’s has cartoonish mascots; Chipotle displays artistic black& white photography and illustrations of Aztec deities. Where MacDonald’s does the food preparation hidden away in the back, Chipotle openly displays the cooking and frying.

Chipotle is a master plan puppet-mastered by MacDonald’s to ensnare the elusive Anti-MacDonald’s group. Attention to aforementioned demographic: You've been had!

(I’ve just checked my facts – MacDonald’s seems to no longer have significant ownership of Chipotle as of 2008. Whoever’s in charge now, Chipotle’s still the parallel universe MacDonald’s)