The Chipotle Effect: How Chefs Are Reinventing Fast Food

February 7, 2015 2:10 AM

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The Chipotle Effect: How Chefs Are Reinventing Fast Food

“FROM THIS POINT to the register, where we’ll place our order, it should take about six-and-a-half minutes,” said chef Franklin Becker. He was standing at the end of a long line snaking through the Little Beet, his popular lunch spot in Midtown Manhattan. Part of a new chain launching seven more branches this year, the restaurant serves gluten-free bowls of vegetables, proteins and grains—food that’s fresh, wholesome and designed to move.

“Once we’re at the register,” Mr. Becker continued, “we should have our meal in under two minutes. With a concept like this, throughput [rate of processing] is key.” Accustomed to serving $35 entrees stocked with luxury ingredients, most recently at New York’s Abe & Arthur’s restaurant, he has gaine...

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