Envisioning America as a nation of burrito-folders employing advanced pork-braising technology perhaps lacks the romance of a certain kind of industrial nostalgia. But premium fast food (“fast casual” as they call it) is a bona fide boom market despite an adverse macroeconomic climate. Brand management and operational organization of chain retail are longstanding areas of American specialization and expertise (Wal-Mart and McDonald’s are everywhere, in other words), and finding ways to get better food more conveniently is exactly the sort of thing you’d expect a wealthy society to be focused on. As globalization continues to transform the world, the human need to eat on a regular basis is a constant. And as technology improves, we’re still left with just 24 hours in a day. Under the circumstances, faster and better food is a great strategy for winning the future.
Basically, what Chipotle did was take fast food, a thing that’s inherently kind of terrifying and disgusting, and make it a little bit better than people expect. Such an example makes me consider the PlayStation Vita. It’s definitely going to be an improvement upon the handheld gaming system, but unlike Chipotle, how much better do people realistically need a handheld system to be?
Most people play games on their iPhones already, and for me personally, once a gaming experience reaches a certain level of quality I’d rather play it sitting in a chair in front of a TV, rather than hunched over a small screen on a subway. So I guess really the question that I’m asking is at what point does the burrito justify going to a restaurant where you’ve got a waiter, and how is that continuum different from videogames?