Chipotle builds virtual farmers market to support struggling suppliers

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Image: Chipotle

Chipotle helped shape the fast-casual dining revolution by emphasizing its relationships with small(ish) farms, which allowed the restaurant chain to serve better food at lower prices. Though Chipotle is well positioned to survive the impending Restaurantpocalypse, its sales are still significantly lower than normal, which, in turn, means those small(ish) farms are also suffering. Now, Chipotle has announced a new initiative to keep those farmers in business and keep their products from going to waste: the new Chipotle Farmers Market.

The online portal was built by Chipotle in tandem with Shopify and provides suppliers with individualized e-commerce websites from which customers can make direct purchases. Chipotle is assisting in the design and development of each supplier’s site and covering the hosting fees for two years. To start, the Chipotle Farmers Market will feature storefronts of four of Chipotle’s largest suppliers: Niman Ranch, which supplies the company’s pork and beef; Petaluma Creamery and Meister Cheese, which both provide Chipotle’s Monterey Jack, and McKaskle Family Farm, which supplies organic white and brown rices. Though all connected through the virtual farmers market, each farm’s site is operated independently and features a far wider selection of goods than just what they sell to Chipotle.