#QSR Management “Rock Star”


I had the opportunity to sit down with Jorge Marquez, Restaurateur, Chipotle Mexican Grill today. Jorge has been managing the new Chipotle on Page Road in Research Triangle Park (Durham), NC since it opened in November.

Jorge and his team are killing it. The restaurant is #4 in the state in lunch sales. The line is to the door from 11:30 to 1:30. This is something I have not seen at any CMG in a number of years.

This is the second restaurant I’ve frequented that Jorge has managed. He used to manage my “home” CMG at Falls Village Shopping Center in Raleigh. Having eaten at five different CMGs more than 100 times, I have an idea of what a well-run restaurant looks like – at least the “front of the house.”

Jorge is the best manager of CMG’s I’ve seen in my 12.5 years of eating there and I wanted to know the secret to his success so I asked him to answer a few questions:

How did you get started?

I managed an Outback in Erie, PA for five years and moved to Chipotle when I had a family because it offered better hours, healthcare benefits, and let me spend more time with my family. I was promoted to a salaried manager at four months, general manager in six months, and then restaurateur in one year. I was able to surpass my positon at Outback very quickly.

To what do you attribute your success?

Get to know people – customers and employees – this is a people business. If you can connect with your employees you form a team in which everyone working for a common goal and wants to see their teammates be successful.

Likewise, connecting with customers is key. The more your customers see you care, the more they want to help you be successful.

How is CMG “different and better” to work at/manage than other restaurants?

Better pay, benefits, healthcare, the opportunity to grow and get more money. As you progress, you have the opportunity to buy the stock at a discount and then restaurateurs earn stock as a bonus.

What are the “keys to success” as a CMG manager?

  1. Hit your sales metrics
  2. Manage cash flow
  3. At CMG you have to manage in a way to create sustainability
  4. Know business around you
  5. Connect with the community around your restaurant
  6. We spend 33% of sales with schools and local non-profits
  7. Managers are expected to be in touch with the people in the community

At this location, 27% of sales are “take out” or “catering” orders. Needless to say, there is a lot of pent up demand for “food with integrity” and companies willing to cater lunch for employees and clients.

I noticed when Jorge opened this restaurant, he prepared all of the “to go” orders realizing the value of making a positive first impression as customers unpacked their food in front of others in their offices. Jorge has subsequently trained his staff to make sure “to go” orders are flawless.

What are the “keys to success” as an employee?

  1. Show up to work
  2. I will teach you how to do the job
  3. Be reliable, hardworking, and eager to learn
  4. Don’t be late
  5. Maintain a positive attitude with your teammates

Jorge said it’s been challenging to get the right people working in this new location. Given that it’s in an area that much more business than residential, commute times can be 30 minutes, there’s no downtime given the volume the restaurant is doing.

Jorge and his team are currently earning an extra paycheck every quarter since the restaurant is meeting sales, cash flow, and throughput goals. Connect with him if you want to learn restaurant management from the best.

Chipotle is planning on adding 10 more restaurants in the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area in the next couple of years so there are tremendous growth opportunities for people who want to work hard and deliver a great customer experience.

About Chipotle for Life

An integrated marketing professional who generates insights from analytics to increase revenue. My blog for marketing now resides at www.insightsfromanalytics.com/blog. After getting requests from a number of people about my eating and exercise routine, I've decided to begin sharing about my healthy obsession with Chipotle and exercise.
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