By Kim Siebert MacPhail
Stephanie Scanell, an attorney with the Newton-based Fogelman & Fogelman, the law firm that handles Chipotle Mexican Grill’s licensing interests in Massachusetts, presented a request to the Selectmen on Monday night asking that a wine and beer license be granted for their Bedford location, the former Friendly’s site at 343 Great Road.
“I’m very familiar with Chipotle’s model,” Scanell said. “Chipotle is a national chain. Part of their model is, when they can, to get a liquor license. Their model is very specific: they only serve beer and margaritas. In some circumstances, a full liquor license is not available, in which case they get [a] beer and wine [license, but] they don’t do wine at all . . . . They only do beer.”
Since the Town has no more full liquor licenses to dispense, Chipotle is pursuing a wine and malt license. The Town has wine and malt licenses for this as well as for several future applications.
Scanell went on to specify Chipotle’s “very stringent” policies and procedures regarding alcohol, including a one-drink-per-meal limit in their “fast casual” style restaurant. If a diner wants a second drink, Scanell said, another meal must be ordered. In addition, no drinks are allowed in the outdoor seating area, and managers supervise the dining areas to make sure that no one underage is consuming alcohol.
“They don’t have a bar,” Scanell said, “which means people aren’t just going in there and sitting, hanging out, having drinks. There’s no place to do that. They ID everyone, regardless of how old the person looks—so if you’re 70 years old, they’ll card you; if you’re 21 years old, they’ll card you. They have cameras that overlook the cash registers and every single cashier is supposed to be checking IDs; they do random audits every month, checking the security cameras to make sure that the cashiers are ID’ing people. . . . Everyone is TIP [Training for Intervention Procedures] certified.”
Danielle Stevens, who will be one of the managers at the Bedford location, introduced herself, saying she has a background in food and beverage service, has been with the Chipotle corporation for a number of years, and is well-versed in the company’s policies and procedures, specifically with regard to the serving of alcohol.
The Selectmen posed questions about a number of concerns, including access to the 12 outdoor seats as well as previous incidents of alcohol violations in disclosures provided of company’s history. Attorney Scanell emphasized that none of the Massachusetts locations has ever experienced this sort of violation.
Noting that the Bedford Police and Building Inspector saw no impediments to granting Chipotle a wine and beer license—although certification of alcohol service training still must be submitted—the Selectmen voted unanimously to agree to Chipotle’s request for a common victuallers’ license as well as a wine and malt license.
The timetable for the opening of the Bedford location is anywhere from April to August, depending on how the construction moves along, manager Stevens said. “We are very specific about how we want our restaurants to look, so if the work isn’t up to our standards, we push back the opening date because we want it to be perfect,” she explained.