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Chipotle shoots for the stars in growth

Ella Bozarth

Guest Writer

May 28, 2024

Beloved Burritos - To this day, burritos still hold their position as the most popular item sold at Chipotle.

It seems like Chipotle is on every corner of every town, due to its popularity, but it is more than a restaurant.

The first Chipotle opened in Denver during 1993 by Steve Ells and has rapidly grown to house over 2,300 restaurants across the country. Westfield has their very own Chipotle and many students can testify to their love for it. Its bare-bone structure and architecture reflect the humble beginnings of the famous brand.

“I am addicted,” sophomore Olivia Barnett stated. “I love eating there weekly with my friends and it’s a great place to hang out with people.”

The brand wouldn’t have been as successful as it is today without the hard work from Ells. After he attended the Culinary Institute of America, he was able to use his experience to help him create his own brand. He opened the first Chipotle with an $85,000 loan from his father. He opened the first building inside an abandoned ice cream store. With help from his father, he calculated that he needed to sell 107 a day to make a profit. To his luck, they ended up selling on average over 1,000 burritos a day within the first month. They began branching out and trying new things with their menu and environment, but the burritos are still a core food for many consumers.

“Their burritos are my favorite thing to get when I order there,” customer Alivia Lozier said. “They are huge, but make a big mess.”

McDonald’s had initially invested in the company around 1998 and grew to be Chipotle’s top investor during 2001, however, in 2006, McDonald’s divested all of their non-core businesses to focus on their own. Chipotle then bought back the franchises that had been sold and became public in 2007. In 2009, Chipotle was ranked based on increases in U.S. sales from the year. This helped them to separate themselves from other popular restaurants at the time and build unique values to become prominent.

“The first time I ate at Chipotle was around 2010,” Customer Nolan Bozarth exclaims, “I remember being fascinated by the way I could pick out what I wanted to eat as they made the food.”

In 2017, the founder and CEO, Steve Ells, stepped down from his position, and in March of 2018, the CEO of Taco Bell, Brian Niccol, took his position. After the drastic change, Chipotle’s stock increased by 12%. Chipotle is currently tweaking its store designs and has taken steps to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. Two restaurants have already undergone these changes and a third is coming soon. They use solar power to power their restaurants. The current focus for Chipotle is sustainability.

“I think that they are paving a great path by eliminating their footprint on the world,” Gianna Ferreri, a current employee stated, “I hope more restaurants follow in their footsteps, so we can make our earth clean.”

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