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Chipotle Mexican Grill offers a focused menu of burritos, tacos, burrito bowls (a burrito without the tortilla) and salads made from fresh, high-quality raw ingredients, prepared theming classic cooking methods and served in a distinctive atmosphere. Through their vision of Food With Integrity, Chipotle is seeking better food not only from theming fresh ingredients, but ingredients that are sustainably grown and naturally raised with respect for the animals, the land, and the farmers who produce the food. Chipotle opened its first restaurant in 1993 and currently operates over 775 restaurants. Chipotle is not a franchise.
If you are looking for information on the Chipotle Mexican Grill franchise business opportunity, Chipotle Mexican Grill franchises or Chipotle Mexican Grill franchising, then you have come to the right place.
Chipotle's corporate culture and emphasis on premium ingredients put it at odd with McDonald's, which had acquired 70% of the shares of the company; during a time when McDonald's was working on a three year restructuring plan, it slowly began divestment of its holdings in Chipotle. The corporate marriage of Chipotle and McDonald's was one brought of opportunism, not mutual support, and it was never a particularly healthy fit for Chipotle, so the divestment, which is normally a process fraught with stress and angst for the company being spun off, was met with a certain degree of welcome by Chipotle's management group. This divestment has changed a number of practices in the company, among them how it deals with franchise restaurants; under McDonald's stewardship, Chipotle was making forays into franchise restaurants. Now, that policy looks to be changing for the next few years.
Of the nearly 700 stores, only eight are franchises, and the outlook is not good for more franchises being sold. All the rest are corporate owned. In large part, this is due to Chipotle's Food with Integrity program – if the stores are corporate owned, then the stores can be controlled more readily, including mandatory suppliers for vegetables, chicken, pork and beef.
Anyone interested in owning a Chipotle franchise would be well served to make an offer to the company first, and then see if one of the original franchisees is willing to sell – then expect a bidding war with the corporate office. Whether or not Chipotle will remain as acquisitive of franchise stores in the future is not yet certain, though the current same store sales growth rate of 12.5% makes it likely.
Chipotle Mexican Grills have created a market niche, one that now has several competitors, like Qdoba, and Pablos, both of which are offering franchise opportunities, albeit with stringent application requirements. Even so, Chipotle remains the market leader in this menu segment, with a great degree of capitalization, and public good will, as more people have embraced their environmentally friendly philosophy in providing food.
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