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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) Is the New Chipotle and Wall Street Can’t Understand

chipotle mexican grill apple inc

Tim Cook is very clear, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) does not collect user information in order to sell it, it collects user information in order to help customers. It may not be the whole truth about Apple’s massive data collection programs, but it’s the line the firm’s leaders are going to follow from here on out. It’s also one that that Wall Street simply cannot appreciate.

chipotle mexican grill apple inc

Wall Street is more interested in big gains in the short term, and Apple is not giving it that right now. The firm is in the middle of a fundamental shift, it’s both fueling and capitalizing on a trend that will ensure brand loyalty over the next two decades. Like the rise in “healthy” fast food, traders won’t see this coming until it’s here, but Tim Cook and his team are well ahead of the pack.

Apple is the new Chipotle

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) is the carrier of the high quality fast food banner. Wall Street loves the movement. Shares in the firm have increased by more than 300% in the last five years, and the company has actually beaten Apple’s value growth over the last decade.

Chipotle’s power came in recognizing a trend, in this case the bad association that people were making with fast food brands. The firm’s hard and fast capitalization on that trend had driven better growth than the iPhone at Apple.
When the anti-McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) fever reached its height in the late 1990s and early 2000s it culminated in Super Size Me, a film about a man who ate nothing but fast food burgers for a month and got sick as a result.
At the time the effect was clear. McDonald’s cleaned up its menu a little, offered salads and got athletes into sponsorship deals. Wall Street assumed that was the end of the issue. There were few that expected the cultural meme to have any effect. It did, and McDonald’s is paying the price just as the economy recovers.
Kids who were nine or ten when Morgan Spurlock released Supersize Me are young professionals and college students now. They have no intention of eating at McDonald’s and they won’t bring their kids there either. Long term trends matter, even a global brand like McDonald’s won’t always be in control.
The result is Chipotle, A $19 billion taco place with a reputation for quality and healthy eating. That reputation may hide some of the truths about the firm, but Apple’s Tim Cook can appreciate that and still want to make his company the new Chipotle.

Google caught by McDonald’s wave

The biggest cultural memes of the last few years in the western world have been inequality and privacy. These issues are going to be on the minds of today’s young people for a large part of the rest of their lives. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is able to see that, even if Google doesn’t fully recognize it yet.

Tim Cook is rounding on Google, and he’s using the small problem that Google has with privacy right now to gain users. The CEO said last week lambasted Google and Facebook who “built their businesses by lulling their customers into complacency about their personal information.”

At WWDC this week the single most important reveal was the firm’s Spotlight API. While talking about the new features the Apple execs made it very clear that all private info will stay on the phone and will to learn about your preferences to help you rather than advertise to you.

Healthy eating and healthy data sharing mirror each other, and Google is going to continue to be hit with concerns about the way it deal with data in the years to come. It has already been victim to a number of problems in the EU on the back of its lack of concern for privacy.

Spotlight is going to rival Google’s search business, and keep people on their iPhone and away from the web. As dev support for the new feature matures so will user appreciation for the lack of data they’re sharing with the world.

Apple is the only private tech concern

Morgan Spurlock probably couldn’t handle eating a Chipotle burrito bowl every single day, and Apple is still going to to use that data to sell you stuff, despite what Time Cook and Craig Federeghi say. It will do it itself, however, and it won’t allow third party advertising, at least not like Google does.

Apple will sell itself as the alternative tech firm, the one that will take your data to heart and protect it for you. Just like Chipotle sells “healthy” food compared to McDonald’s, Apple will offer a real alternative to Google’s data-mongering.

In the coming years Apple will take a big part of search, and it will gain in content aggregation. The iPhone will get better and better at predicting what you want to see, read, and hear, and Apple will be mining your data to make that happen, but you won’t get an ad for Coke when you search for Pepsi.

That matters to customers now, but it matters to enterprise more. As the kids of today grow up they will, much like those ten years older than them have rejected McDonald’s, begin to reject the data-mining of some companies.

Changing the world, one burger, or search, at a time

Google, like McDonald’s, will bear the brunt of that change as it represents the whole industry. Tim Cook knows that now, though the real change might not happen for another decade. Apple is, as always, ahead of the entire market on privacy though Wall Street may not understand that for another eight years.

For the time being Apple is going to expand and offer everything that Google does right now, but without the “unhealthy” data sharing. That’s the same as Chipotle’s strategy. The company wants you to have the option to go to a Chipotle Mexican Grill every time you want to go to McDonald’s. Apple will do the same by giving itself search and video functions.

The section of the population that decides against the “unhealthy” option, in either Google or McDonald’s will first be weird, but then they’ll be thought of as “do-gooders,” before anybody knows it protecting personal data will be cool.

The change will be slow and it will be marginal, and at the end of it Google, like McDonald’s, will still be there and it may still be the biggest firm in the business. In order to save itself it will have to do a major business transformation, however, and that’s going to hurt investors in the medium term, just like at McDonald’s.

Apple and Chipotle are proof that Wall Street is bad at predicting the future, and the firms will continue to break out on major global trends in the coming years. While Google is rebranding itself Apple will be taking its customers and changing their minds about privacy, the web, and the way they should interact with the people that sell them things.

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