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Life Experience

Chipotle Franchise

Chipotle Mexican Grill is a fast casual restaurant focused on using fresh ingredients in their burritos, quesadillas, and more.

Facts & Figures
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About Chipotle

It seems like every time you walk into a Chipotle Mexican Grill, the place is packed and buzzing with a happy murmur of satisfied customers, as well as those standing in the assembly line food production area and anticipating their meal. The smells linger of Mexican spices, rice and beans. Chipotle is known for tasty, fresh food prepared in front of customers as they proceed through the line, watching their dishes being put together. The restaurant chain’s designs, with kitchens and food prep areas open to view, have instilled trust and appreciation in their growing mass of loyal customers.

Full Franchise Information

Chipotle uses more naturally raised meat than any other restaurant, and its use of natural ingredients and sustainable methods bolsters its catchphrase of “Food with Integrity.” The Chipotle company also strives to become good neighbors, participating in community-building efforts and supporting events in the areas where they open locations. The star of the Chipotle menu is the giant burrito, a mix of Mexican tradition with American tastes. The restaurant also serves burrito bowls, crispy and soft tacos, salads and sides of chips and guacamole.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Franchise Opportunities – History

Chipotle Mexican Grill was founded in 1993 by Steve Ells, who opened his first restaurant in Denver, Colorado, near the University of Denver. After success there, he opened his second restaurant in 1995, and continued to build the chain, getting a boost with an investment from McDonald’s in 1998 (which has since fully divested). Today, Chipotle has more than 1,200 locations in 41 states, as well as in Canada and England, with income of $215 million in 2011. Meanwhile CEO Steve Ells has become an increasingly active advocate for natural, organic and sustainable ingredients. In 2009 he testified before the U.S. Congress to try to eliminate the use of antibiotics in ranching.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Franchise Cost

With only a few exceptions, all 1200 Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants are company owned. While a few franchises were sold in the early days, since Chipotle's success the franchising plan has been scrapped in favor of complete corporate ownership and control. The Chipotle franchise cost is therefore really just an expansion cost, and is borne by the company directly.

Chipotle Business Opportunities

If you were hoping to open a Chipotle franchise and your dreams were just crushed because the chain doesn't offer franchises, there's a silver lining here. Sure, your money isn't going to get any more valuable sitting at the bank, and the window in people's lives that they have the time, money and energy to start a franchise is usually limited. So it makes sense to invest in a franchise when you're in your window. But just because you can't open a Chipotle restaurant it doesn't mean you're out of luck!

New Franchise Investment Opportunities

It's true that Chipotle used to be the fresh, fast-growing new kid on the block, but its days of posting yearly double-digit increases in sales are well behind it (just check out the company's financial filings to see for yourself). Fortunately for potential franchise owners, new chains have emerged that offer a chance to get in on the ground floor of the next big thing -- instead of chasing an opportunity that has already peaked.

Here are a few hot new franchises that Chipotle fans tend to like:

  • Una Mas Mexican Grill: Serving healthy, California-style Mexican cuisine in a contemporary atmosphere steeped in authentic Mexican roots, Una Mas might just be "the next Chipotle"  -- a franchise about to explode nationally in much the same way the Chipotle chain did over the last decade. There's little question that Mexican food will continue to be one of the hottest categories going forward, and Una Mas owners appear poised to be some of the biggest winners in the years to come.
  • Wall Street Deli: Wall Street Deli brings the freshly prepared gourmet sandwiches, soups and salads that New Yorkers love to cities around the world. Like Chipotle, Wall Street Deli has had a lot of success serving massive corporate lunches.
  • Mara's Cafe & Bakery: Mara’s Café & Bakery offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, gelato, baked goods and the freshest coffee around. Much like Chipotle, Mara’s has a commitment to quality and freshness that cannot be matched.
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