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On December 14, 2015, MZheng commented on Chipotle Nation :

Totally agree Yael- it’s really powerful how fast casual is able to appeal to such a broad swathe of the consumer base, from students to professionals to families. Also, Aroma sounds delicious.

On December 14, 2015, MZheng commented on Chipotle Nation :

Thanks for the post Ben!!! The ecoli troubles definitely highlight one risk of the supply chain and sourcing from local and diversified suppliers where it might be more difficult to do safety inspections and maintain standards. They are certainly having some trouble identifying the exact source of the outbreak right now.

Perhaps the silver lining is that we’ve seen that restaurants have recovered from such things in the past- if your’e interested in how and how long it took you can do a quick google search on ecoli in Jack in the Box.

On December 14, 2015, MZheng commented on Chipotle Nation :

Great question Kate! I’m not sure why Ells chose specifically burritos versus other cuisine initially, though he did allude to not wanting to compete directly with sandwich/burger places by establishing another concept around that. On your second question, Chipotle is actually in the midst of experimenting with a fast casual asian concept called ShopHouse Kitchen. Check it out here:

On December 13, 2015, MZheng commented on Patagonia’s Trek to Social Responsibility :

Awesome post Lily! Patagonia is an interesting example of a fast growing and beloved consumer brand that has aligned a mission and operating model that has goals beyond simply the bottom line. I worked for another B corp over the summer (the Road Less Traveled, inc.) and the entire program is fascinating. B corps are actually legally bound to preserve their benefit tenets over time, so even if Patagonia were to be acquired by a larger fashion brand or even by PE, their corporate charter would remain and likely the operating model as you described above that supports it. Other companies who have recently become B corp certified are Kleen Kanteen and Ben & Jerry’s. In all of these cases it is really inspiring to see how business success can coexist with social good.

On December 13, 2015, MZheng commented on In-N-Out – The Freshest, Friendliest Fast Food :

Leigha, thanks for the post! (And for making me hungry!). I definitely have enjoyed the value that IN-n-Out offers and personally appreciate the quality of ingredients and cooked to order meals. One thing I wonder about with the 500 miles radius to distribution centers is about supply chain risk- how much stores would suffer if a particular distribution center had a health issue. Another is the scalability and competition- if having to building another distribution center within 500 miles will limit the geographic expansion (allowing other competitors within the hotly contested space to steal share). In any case, I’m just sad right now that we in Boston have to cross the country to get one of those animal style burger and fries!

On December 13, 2015, MZheng commented on Panera: Winners in Fast Casual :

Thanks for the post Adam. The fast casual space is definitely one undergoing rapid expansion and competition and from your observations it does look like Panera has been able to distinguish itself. In many ways they have become the “Starbucks” of fast casual restaurants, taking on the “third place” function.

I did notice, however, (and in line with Libby) that capacity seems to become an issue at certain hours. This, combined with customers’ desire to dine in has led to some practices that may be hurting Panera’s image. For example, there were signs posted at tables that encouraged diners to be considerate to others during peak hours (aka eat faster and not linger). I wonder how Panera will address these moving forward to stay as a leader in fast casual.