Believe it or not, Chipotle's marketing manager for the DFW area found his position through Career Builder--wading through several months of listing before he coming across what turned out to be the right fit.
Now Burns has marketing responsibilities for Chipotle's 36 local restaurants, including the one that opened last month on McKinney.
That's a long way from where he started. The Arlington native studied History at TCU, concentrating on China and the rise of Communism. But he also worked his way through school waiting tables and washing dishes in area restaurants.
So he knows something about food service. In fact, he knows enough to caution against burritos weighing more than two pounds...
1. When people call you Mr. Burns, do you do that 'excellent' thing?
Yes, Smithers. And it helps that we have the same initials.
2. So why open in this economy?
That was a location we couldn't pass up, the old Sushi on McKinney spot. That area is a hotbed of restaurants--and it has the full range, from Abacus down to pubs.
3. I assume it's easier with a brand name behind you...
The problem is, for us, that we're everywhere. People are conditioned to go to their own favorite Chipotle location, so we have to say 'hey, we're over here, too.' I can't believe there are still people who haven't heard of Chipotle--and still some who can't pronounce it.
4. So how many things can you put in a burrito?
You can put as much as your heart desires. And we have people who do it, too. But when you get to about two pounds, it gets to be a bit much. We have this one kid who comes in and, I swear, by the time he's done it's the size of a football. He can eat the whole thing.
5. The good thing is, if they put together a combination they don't like, it's not your fault...
Exactly. You know, when I started with Chipotle, I tried some weird combinations of things. It's really trial and error, finding what you like.
6. So who has the best margarita in Dallas?
Good question. I loved Strong's Everyday Tavern. I cried when I heard they closed. I like Gloria's, but Strong's did it right with their fresh squeezed juices.
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7. Why haven't you come up with a clever marketing character like the Frito Bandito?
What, the Burrito Bandito? No--but it would be easy to wrap someone up in aluminum foil and have them stand outside. The easiest costume ever, and we have miles of foil lying around. It would be easy to make that happen.
8. Think TCU is gonna be any good in football this year?
Hey, it's just nice to be up top for awhile after growing up with all those bad years.
9. What do you think of the Cowboys stadium?
Aside from it being obnoxiously large? I don't understand why they put it there--and no disrespect to Arlington. Why couldn't Dallas have come up with something? But I won't be going there. Jerry Jones wants too much of my money for it.
10. You could put a Chipotle in there...
Not for eight days a year.