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What You Can Learn From the Simple Brilliance of Chipotle's Design The fast food Mexican grill franchise sets a standard for modern restaurants.

By Christopher Hann

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Walk into any of the nearly 1,500 Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants, and one thing immediately becomes clear: This doesn't look like all those other places.

That look is no accident. The distinctive Chipotle design--a spare, industrial motif marked by concrete floors, exposed piping, natural colors and ample use of plywood and stainless steel--reflects a company culture that champions the basics.

At Chipotle customers order from a pared-down menu of tacos and burritos, then watch the kitchen staff prepare their meal from fresh, sustainably raised ingredients. "We don't say on the menu board that we have fresh guacamole," says founder and co-CEO Steve Ells. "As a customer, you can see it being made right in front of you."

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