I eat at Chipotle’s a couple of times a week. On Friday I realized I was bobbing my head in time with the song coming from the restaurant sound system. Didn’t recognize the song or the artist. Thinking back, it occurred to me the music there was always to my liking. So I asked Google “do all Chipotle’s restaurants play the same music?” and found the answer in a story at Businessweek (yes).
Chris Golub the founder and sole employee of Studio Orca which “creates customized playlists for restaurants tired of putting their dining atmosphere in the hands of Pandora or Sirius XM Radio. His job consists of researching music, discovering bands, and asking questions such as, “Would you rather hear folky banjo music or classic Motown as you eat your steak burrito bowl?”
“Golub runs Studio Orca out of his spacious apartment in a Brooklyn high-rise. There he spends 8 to 10 hours a day researching music for Chipotle, which lets him play anything he wants. “I’m looking for songs that make you want to dance around your kitchen in your socks and underwear before you’ve even had your second cup of coffee,” he says. “Not many songs can do that.” Golub listens to about 500 songs before he finds one that will work.”
“Chipotle’s 1,500 stores all play the same music. […] Four times a month he loads up his iPod with 15 to 20 new tracks and goes to a restaurant in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood to see how they sound in the store. Once a month he sends the updated list to Mood Media, formerly known as Muzak, which then streams the mix over the online service Rdio and into every Chipotle store.”
I put the Rdio app on my phone so I can listen to Chipotle FM for a bit.