Niccol-Brian_Chipotle_Phoenix_SocialCapital From unplanned dropping in on Chipotle stores while visiting colleges with his daughter to the carefully technology-coordinated town hall meetings with all 3,000 restaurants, Brian strives to make a connection – a two-way connection. Photo: Chipotle

“ If there’s any efficiency anywhere in the business to offset the inflation that we’re dealing with, we want to do that,” CEO Brian Niccol says, noting Chipotle has, in fact -- thanks to its strong brand proposition and being very judicious in making any changes in pricing – probably “stored up a lot of pricing power that we’ve not used in the past.”

Referring to the current inflationary environment, he comments, “I look forward to the day when I’m not talking about pricing anymore.” But for us, he does talk about his philosophy for Chipotle in this interview for our Social Capital section.

Segueing neatly from that into a discussion of the company’s growth, Brian says, “I want to grow a company that people want to work at. And I want to grow a company that people want to grow with us.” And this is where communication between him and everyone in the company plays a big role.

“ I think the biggest benefit is just to let people know I care,” says Chipotle’s CEO, reiterating the quality we have been so pleased to honor him for as a Social Capital leader, “I want to hear the feedback, because we genuinely want to invest in our people and invest in our company the right way.”

From unplanned dropping in on Chipotle stores while visiting colleges with his daughter to the carefully technology-coordinated town hall meetings with all 3,000 restaurants, Brian strives to make a connection – a two-way connection. Among the benefits, he shares examples of improvements Chipotle has made in its operations thanks to employee and management feedback – some of it surprising in its simplicity yet tremendous in its impact.

Voicing his message with the same passion he articulates in words, Brian says, “I feel like a lot of companies have gone back and created a purpose because they feel like they’re supposed to have a purpose. But it ends up being more like a tag line than truly a passion. … If you’re going to commit to something, make sure you’re passionate in the soul on this, not just because you think it’s something your company needs. That’s going to not serve you the way you want it to serve your organization and your culture.”

How Brian keeps his decisions in sync with Chipotle’s core culture makes for an informative and highly entertaining conversation. Click on the video below and give a listen.