Who wants to go with me to Chipotl—…wait, that’s a Wendy’s. Or is it a Taco Bell?

It’s funny.

When something in America works, it gets copied (slightly) and relabelled and distributed widely.

Especially in the restaurant biz. I was just reading about how Wendy’s is testing its updated look in Detroit.

I have to say, it’s kind of a familiar look, isn’t it?

What I (and, I think, Paul Barron who wrote The Chipotle Effect) would call “The Chipotle Aesthetic” is clearly influential. Maybe this wood-and-brushed-metal-and-natural-stones-with-prominent-windows (and-often-a-central-towerlike-blocky-thing-at-the-main-door) look didn’t originate with Chipotle; but I think they might own what it’s trying to evoke: a casual classiness, a sleek lack of pretension, even hints of a woodland lodge to connote some usually unearned connection with Ma Earth.

This feel has found its way into the redesign of every gosh darn free-standing restaurant building ON THE PLANET EARTH.

On the Gosh. Darn. Planet. Earth.