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Chipotle Crimson walls surround the restaurant. It also uses yellow lighting, creating a dark but calming effect on the room. The windows are transparent, which allows maximum light to enter the restaurant. The ceiling pipes are showing, adding a more casual environment. Various stools are lined up against the wall, looking onto the area outside. Many tables are situated around the restaurant. All the furniture is painted in a silver color and wooden tiles cover the floor. The chairs have a very interesting design, as there is only one leg. It forms an M shape, to support the entire chair. There is a pepper on each of the employee’s hat. They display a burrito in all their advertisements, signifying their specialty, Mexican food. The restaurant also offers free brochures, where customers can pick one off the shelf while exiting. Aztec Sculptures hang on the walls, displaying different characters. Black shades and blinds can be pulled over the windows, when the sun’s blaze is too hot. A red square pattern is painted on the floor. Meat, no prescription needed. The syntax and diction of this phrase is very unique, in their own style. I think they used this syntax to show that they are different from other restaurants. They want to set themselves aside from other restaurants. They could have arranged this in a variety of different ways, but they chose to spell it in an irregular fashion to create a special effect. I think they used the word prescription to show how many chemicals and other harmful contents are in other fast foods. They wanted to show that they don’t use those types of chemicals in their food. Chipotle is probably designed to look like an average Fast Food Restaurant. It has a modern setting and is similar to any restaurant. It does not have a complicated lay out, but is simple and fitting to the purpose.

Imagery and Symbols The M in the chair could have also stood for Mexico. The pepper on each of the employee’s hat is probably trying to show that the food is spicy. They display a burrito in all their advertisements, signifying the food they serve and their specialty. There is also a photo of the first Chipotle ever made. This also shows a pride in their history. Crimson walls surround the Restaurant, which probably represents Mexico’s orange terrain. It also uses yellow lighting that symbolizes the beaming sunlight in Mexico.

Gabriella Buck Tania Lucero Grace Whitehouse

October 10, 2008

Theme: It is possible to interpret the theme of a restaurant just like you would interpret the theme of a book. Usually, you refer to the theme of a novel as the message which the author conveys to the reader. In this case, Chipotle, the author, makes sure that their readers know that all their food is fresh. They do this by presenting you with humorous phrases that are visible throughout the restaurant and on the backs’ of the employees’ shirts, thereby emphasizing the message they wish to express. These humorous phrases go hand in hand with Chipotle’s website’s message “Food tastes better when it’s served in a cool environment.” A second theme, “Have fun at our modern Mexican grill” is reflected in the wood and metal decoration, both modern materials, used throughout Chipotle. From both of these themes, you know you are in a fun and relaxed environment.

Tone and Mood: The unique architecture, characterized by its metallic structures and use of wood, creates a modern look and relaxed atmosphere. It is impossible to miss the exotic yet contemporary artwork that is scattered around the restaurant, which sets the futuristic mood and tone that the founder, Steve Ells, may have envisioned when he opened the first Chipotle in 1993. It is evident that the construction of its furniture is composed solely of geometric shapes: the backs and seats of the chairs square, the tables rectangular, and the panels across the ceiling semispherical. Yet, every Chipotle feels slightly different and unique. This is probably because, at least in cities like Washington, the restaurants are housed in existing, older properties, whose architecture and style reflect to a varying degree the

spirit and traditions of the neighborhood. So while the inside of the restaurants do exhibit the marketing characteristics of the franchise, the facades usually mesh respectfully with the surroundings.

Syntax and Diction: By examining the menu, it is understood that the selection of words, i.e. diction, and the way these words are put together, i.e. syntax, are adapted around a fairly basic structure. Unlike some other restaurants, Chipotle does not attempt to describe in great detail the items on the menu. They have one main heading and an explanation beneath it. As stated on the Chipotle website, the restaurant’s design “mirrors the idea behind the food: simple materials put together creatively, elevating them to a higher level.” Chipotle, being straight forward and easygoing, chooses to say “Meat, no prescription needed”, rather than “No prescription needed for our meat”.

Symbol: Whether you are walking around the busy streets of Washington or strolling along the calm areas of the suburbs, Chipotle is always bold in appearance and instantly recognizable as a result of its well-known trademarks: its business logo, the pepper, and its selling symbol, the submarineshaped, tin foil burrito. T-shirts and caps worn by all of Chipotle’s employees are marked by that unforgettable symbol, the pepper. Furthermore, the name Chipotle, in addition to being instantly associated with Mexico and the Spanish language, is a short word that is easy to remember and even fun to say.

Metaphor and Simile: When analyzing a restaurant, it is not always an easy task to find metaphors and similes, especially when none are used for menu item descriptions. However, Chipotle uses these literary terms on the back of their menus when offering guidelines on how to place an order. For example, “Hang out and soak up the scene or carry the love home with you” is their metaphor for “For here or to go.”

Imagery: Chipotle displays two methods of imagery in their restaurants: pictures that will directly inspire the customers, as well as descriptive phrases that will create a picture in their minds. The imagery used in Chipotle is very modern with wooden and metal sculptures on the walls. Bruce Gueswel makes original artwork for every Chipotle, and each of their restaurants has different sculptures. His artwork was inspired by the ancient Mayans. He has also designed the unique chairs that are a signature of Chipotle. Although there are numerous restaurants that use imagery to describe the items on their menu, Chipotle is not one of them. Instead, they use imagery when stating their philosophy: “We believe in treating all with respect: the farmer and ranchers, the animals and the land, and our suppliers who bring it all together for us.” This quote can be found on the back of Chipotle’s takeout menus, a further indication of their intent to make their customers aware of their beliefs.


Chipotle Trip Chipotle is a popular Tex- Mex restaurant, but the elements that make up the place are what we will be analyzing. The simple dÊcor and use of unfurnished materials give the customer a sense of being welcome and wanted by the staff and, if the eatery could display emotion, by the restaurant itself. Its music in the background, played lightly, encourages conversation, adding to the welcoming environment. The symbols used to represent the general idea of the restaurant cause much interest. The first thing to catch the attention of clientele is the wood and metal Aztec figures. The figures vary in size yet all portray the same general idea. A burrito is always in the hand of the largest figure, hinting at the idea that the customer is genuinely in Mexico or in the southwest area. These symbolize the ancient culture of the origin of the food. Another symbol is the use of basic or spare materials. The specific use of these materials gives the restaurant a special feeling, a feeling of being at home, not some fancy, overpriced eatery. The walls or sidings are made of metal that is unfurnished and is not shined or polished. The slight rust color maintains the Mexican theme of desolate landscapes and Aztec figures. The materials symbolize simplicity and how elegant dÊcor does not mean better. The choice of materials gives it the common fast food joint feel but when you think about it, the comparison between Chipotle and, say, Burger King is very small. The materials at Burger King are over synthesized, not giving it the same perfect feel as Chipotle. The third most visible symbol is the use of chili-peppers on the employee’s hats and other articles of clothing. The chili-pepper represents the food served there, which always has at least a mild spice. The chili pepper has come to symbolize spice because of its own taste, so spicy even some can not handle it. Chipotle is a restaurant of many symbols not always caught on your first trip there. The theme at Chipotle is at first a given, but when one thinks about it, it is not so clear. The first impression of the place is a simple southwestern theme. After about 20 minutes, you start seeing that there is more to it. The music is modern, and the colors are simple. The use of rust-colored objects, such as the metal siding shows that there is a mix between Tex-mex and modern up-beat trends. The theme is a like an intersection between generic and out of the blue. It combines exactly what the word Mexican restaurant brings to mind and a modern twist. The twist is many things; the usage of varied vocabulary on the cups, napkins and menus, the music and style of service. The theme cannot be expressed in a single word, but can be described. The theme of the restaurant is meant to keep up with the preferences of the younger generation while at the same time remembering the roots of the food and culture. The theme is not concrete in this case and could be many things. However, the most dominant of these things is southwest with the modern infusions.

Mood: The restaurants use basic materials and modern designs to make you feel like you’re in a clean cool environment. They want to make you feel like you get a piece of Mexico here in the United States. They have great food for a cheap price so they use cheap materials to create a great setting. The mood they’re trying to create is one that is modern, original and doesn’t cost a lot to make. When I read the menu I think of many things because there are so many delicious ingredients put in every meal. An example I found of a very long description of what something is that will make you think of many delicious things is the burrito. In this description I counted 10 choices you can have as a burrito. When I read this it made me think a lot about Mexico because of all the ingredients. I also thought about a very nice restaurant because the combination of food it seems so different but seems so good at the same time. If someone were to read only the descriptions of what you can eat to someone that had no idea what they served they would definitely figure out the meal that it is and they would also know that Chipotle is a Mexican restaurant. At Chipotle they have many different ways of saying what their food is like and how good it is. These are some of the metaphors that they used to describe their delicious food. Carry the love home. In this metaphor they are implying that their food is love. They also say that their food is s good that you can compare it to one of the best things that you can have. Hang out and soak up the seen. I think this means that you can stay and eat the restaurant and enjoy the delicious food. One step towards a smaller footprint. I found this metaphor posted next to the trash cans in the restaurant. I think that this means one step towards less and less pollution because I was told that “footprint” also means carbon dioxide. If chipotle was a book, than this is how it would work. The elements of it stated are what gives it its special vibe. The customers are always content after a trip there and with the use of the themes, symbols, metaphors and more, it will continue to happen that way.

Theme: When you are at Chipotle, there is a feeling of comfort and relaxation. The main reason for this theme is because it is an informal gourmet restaurant. At Chipotle, there is music and there is no one to tell you where you can and cannot sit. There is also a line where you get to choose what you want instead of being waited on by a waitress or waiter. There is also the notion of being able to eat with your hands and not use utensils. It is a great place to take friends and eat without having the hassle of splitting checks and tipping. Metaphor: Chipotle shows us that they are caring towards us and our environment through metaphors. They express this by using this quote in the menu, “Carry the love home with you”. They are referring to their food as love and since there is carry out we can take the love home with us. Another metaphor was given over the recycling bin, “One step toward a smaller footprint.” If we recycle, we leave a smaller impact on the world’s environment. People who eat at Chipotle are always interested in reading their new metaphors that are advertised everywhere.

Diction: The diction of Chipotle is shown in a laid back and informal manner. Some examples are “Hang out and soak up the scene” and “2 things”. Since Chipotle is such a carefree and relaxed environment, they use words that are more informal and used amongst friends. Things like using the number “2” instead of spelling it all out or using words like “hang out”. Words like these are printed all over the restaurant and even on the menus. Even the employees of Chipotle use an informal way of speaking, its always, “Burrito or bowl?”

8th grade Chipotle deconstruction project  

Students deconstructed a local restaurant using literary terms.

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