Chipotle is an American restaurant chain that serves a simple menu of Mexican-inspired food. Founded in Denver, Colorado, in 1993 by Steve Ells, a classically trained chef, Chipotle has grown to more 2,000 store locations, which together serve over 1 million customers daily. The company is known for its brand and marketing of “Food With Integrity,” its commitment to offering fresh meal items and sourcing ingredients from ethically minded suppliers. With this premium food ethos, Chipotle helped usher in an era of “fast casual” dining experiences, many of which loosely mimicked the chain’s popular approach to fresh preparation and assembly-line service.
Since going public in 2006, Chipotle’s restaurant footprint has grown rapidly, and now includes locations in Europe. The company has also developed a portfolio of subsidiary brands, including Pizzeria Locale, the Asian-inspired ShopHouse Kitchen, and Tasty Made, a new burger joint. Following a series of food-safety incidents in 2015 linked to its flagship Chipotle brand, however, the company’s business has suffered, and even reported its first quarterly loss in a decade. In order to rebound sales and regain the trust of consumers, Chipotle has added new menu items such as chorizo and introduced a rewards program called Chiptopia.