The rangy, lilting whine of Radiohead sounds awful bouncing off the corrugated metal ranges in Chipotles everywhere. This is a tried and true failure, according to Chipotle's playlist guru Christopher Golub, profiled in Denver's Westword.
"You know that if you go into a store, you've got the small, hard surfaces. You've got concrete floors, a lot of windows, hard walls and a lot of cooking gear and tile. So that doesn't work with certain songs."
Golub curates 500-song playlists once a month for the burrito dispensary's 1,400 restaurants across the globe. Four years ago the restaurant's founder, Steve Ells asked the former DJ to create a music identity for the fast-food chain. Golub runs a Brooklyn-based "music identity" service called Studio Orca. Chipotle is their biggest customer.
The man behind the Sound of Chipotle says he aims to focus on playing indie artists and "international jams" to create a "texture of sound." This textural noise also wants you to book it during the lunch rush. Using a technique that the Muzak Company employed to ramp up productivity, Golub will play songs with more beats per minute during peak hours.