I was introduced to the local Chipotle here in town and have never looked back. Their food is fresh, and the company has a neat vibe about it that makes you want to bring people there for casual business lunches. Recently, while I was glancing around the restaurant, I noticed a familiar sight: A horn-loaded speaker mounted behind the restaurant’s fascia that marked the north-facing wall of the establishment. Curiosity had me wondering if the speakers within were of as high a quality as the restaurant’s food and service. As it turns out, those speakers are none other than the Klipsch Heresy III speakers, and at $850 each they are absolutely in keeping with the rest of Chipotle’s commitment to excellence.
As it turns out, Chipotle teamed up with OneButton, a technology design firm, in an effort to improve the restaurants’ component audio system. Chipotle wanted a better audio experience for its customers. What’s awesome that OneButton didn’t convince them to go with more traditional in-ceiling speakers or cube solutions that would remain out of sight. Rather, they integrated the Klipsch Heresy III speakers into the very architecture and design of the restaurant itself.
“When we began exploring new options to bring a higher quality audio system into Chipotle locations, Klipsch speakers were on another level compared to previous systems. Klipsch Heresy III speakers provide a precise yet powerful and efficient sound. Since they don’t require a subwoofer, they deliver sonic consistency across locations. Ultimately this provides an experience akin to an audiophile’s living room and represents a product that’s been made by hand in America for decades.”Matt Emmi, founder and CEO of OneButton
The Klipsch Heresy III speaker has a nice legacy. It was first introduced in 1957 and has remained part of their collection ever since. You an pick a pair up on Audiogurus today for $1700, in fact—that’s some serious longevity!
Before deciding fully on a speaker, Chipotle actually sought out Klipsch’s pro engineer Roy Delgado and discussed ways to integrate the retro-looking Heresy III speaker into what was essentially a modern interior design. Initial designs called for mounting the speakers, but as that wouldn’t work well with the design of that speaker, Kipsch suggested a different approach that was also cost-effective solution—embedding them in the walls!
Since 2009, all Chipotle restaurants have been designed to include a “box”—a permanent structure that contains both the beverage station and the restrooms—and which hides away two or four (depending on the size of the restaurant) Klipsch Heresy III speakers. The wall hides the fact that there’s a box speaker providing the horn midrange, horn tweeter, and 12-inch woofer which are all that’s seen through the wood. The designers used an embossed pattern that keeps the same radiating, geometric lines initiated by drivers so as to avoid any issues with audio diffraction from the increased baffle. In order to get more of the kids and highs into the room, the speakers are inverted, with the bass radiator positioned at the top. This also allows the bass to radiate off the ceiling corner, producing more lows without requiring a dedicated sub.
Over 400 Chipotle locations nationwide use this design, playing back tunes from in-house DJ Christopher Golub. Klipsch speakers are also located in the company’s ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen and Pizzeria Locale restaurants.
High end speakers in one of my favorite restaurants… now that’s food for thought!