The burrito arms race: Just how fast can Chipotle finish your order?


Chipotle is emphasizing the fast in fast casual. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

Here’s a look at six things that could affect the way we live, work and play.

1. How one Chipotle can sell almost six burritos in a minute. Via Quartz:

Some of Chipotle’s fastest restaurants currently run more than 350 transactions per hour at lunchtime, which equates to a ludicrous near-six transactions per minute. The nationwide average is currently somewhere between 110 and 120, according to [co-chief executive Monty] Moran. But they’re getting faster, and faster, and faster. With summer approaching, the company will really get to put its latest burrito-velocity innovations to the test.

2. Tencent: The Chinese tech company you should know. Via Fast Company:

Tencent, which was recently valued at more than $139 billion on the Hong Kong stock exchange, is about to become its breakout star. “Chinese companies are much more innovative [than U.S. companies] in integrating social media, gaming, and e-commerce to make an amazing user experience,” says Sun Baohong, associate dean of global programs at Beijing-based Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business. … Now it’s expanding beyond China. Tencent has already started exploring international markets beyond China’s borders, with notable success in Southeast Asia and India. It has funded a number of small American start-ups and acquired or taken stakes in big gaming companies.

3. Aereo goes to the Supreme Court. A good overview of why this case matters so much, from the New York Times:

Should Aereo win, the $3.3 billion in retransmission fees broadcasters now receive from cable companies will be in doubt, and in response, broadcasters might just stop broadcasting and become cable networks. … The vast majority of people already get their television, including the broadcast networks, through their cable or satellite service. If Aereo wins, networks could let the antennas go dark and tuck themselves inside the cable and satellite universe, where, like AMC or ESPN, they would then be paid programming fees.

That would be bloody. There are over 200 local broadcast affiliates, all of which depend on networks for a share of revenue and much of their programming. Local news, which is part of their mandate as public broadcasters, might wither.

4. Time poverty. Via Joel Achenbach:

Everyone I know is too busy and too rushed. If we ever do feel completely serene, centered and at peace with the world we know, that’s a harbinger of certain doom. It’s not simply that we have too much to do, it’s that we are expected to produce at an extraordinary pace. The weekend is steadily evaporating. People send work e-mails at midnight. Even the stripe of society based on volunteer labor — the annual school auction being the prime example — has become frenzied. Your “spare time” has become a slush fund for those who wish to extract from you ever more units of production.

5. Sports fandom is forged at ages 8-12 in boys. Via the New York Times:

If a team wins a World Series when a boy is 8, it increases the probability that he will support the team as an adult by about 8 percent. Remember, this is independent of how good the team was every other year of this guy’s life. Things start falling off pretty fast after the age of about 14. A championship when a man is 20 is only one-eighth as likely to create an adult fan as a championship when a boy is 8.

6. Unlock your athleticism through motherhood? The evidence is only anecdotal, but interesting. Via Outside:

[Liza] Howard and a select group of athletes come back stronger than ever. Numerous anecdotes exist on recent moms turning in top race performances. Ten months after giving birth, Paula Radcliffe won the 2007 New York City Marathon. Seven months after having her son, Kara Goucher ran a personal best at the 2011 Boston Marathon.

Some mother-athletes say they feel fitter than ever after giving birth. Goucher said her legs felt stronger post-pregnancy because she’d become accustomed to running with extra weight. She also found her breathing was more controlled, and wonders if that could be a result of increased blood volume during pregnancy.

Matt McFarland is the editor of Innovations. He's always looking for the next big thing. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.
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Matt McFarland · April 18