Chipotle Mexican Grill
The "food with integrity" company is installing solar panels in 75 of its restaurants, in an effort to improve the energy efficiency of its units during its peak hours of operation.
This move is more than just lip service, since the company is pinpointing eateries to be converted based on electricity consumption, sunlight access, and any applicable local utility solar rebates that are available. Still, it's undeniable that this will look good on the company's eco-facing front.
Sure, animal activists will probably never rest until Chipotle replaces the beef in its barbacoa with seasoned tofu or starts selling soybean-based carnitas. However, with a pair of locations already ranking high with environmentalists for sustainable design, the act of going solar at dozens of units is going to score the burrito roller some serious karma points.
Sun-based power is still something of a domestic anomaly. Real Goods Solar
Chipotle may not necessarily be a trendsetter here. There aren't too many eateries sporting the chunky margins and high volume to make solar-energy conversions financially feasible. However, Chipotle has learned that good things happen to companies that do the right thing. That's a lesson many of its lesser rivals have yet to learn.
How important is a restaurant chain's eco-friendly stance in deciding whether it will get your lunch business? Check in on either side of the argument in the comment box below.
Chipotle, First Solar, and Suntech Power are Motley Fool Rule Breakers selections. Chipotle's B shares are also a Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation and a Fool holding. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no class -- A or B -- or so his old girlfriends told him. He owns no shares in any of the stocks in this story and is part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.