In the world of fast food and drive-throughs, Chipotle emerged as a black sheep, but then who started Chipotle, and who owns Chipotle now?
What Chipotle is today is due to the ups and downs it has faced for many years. So, let’s get started on the ride of understanding who owns Chipotle and what are its controversies.
About Chipotle Mexican Grill
Chipotle Mexican Grill, often known as Chipotle, is an American chain of fast-casual restaurants. It is known for its specialty in bowls, tacos, and Mexican burritos.
This restaurant chain operates in different countries, such as Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, and France.
The food items served in the restaurant are customized according to its customers and made in front of them.
As of 2023, Chipotle has 32,00 restaurants in the United States. The state with the most number of Chipotle restaurants is California, which has around 464 restaurants.
Who Owns Chipotle?
Chipotle Mexican Grill started with the dream of Steve Ells in 1993. Steve Ells attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.
Afterward, Steve became a line cook for Jeremiah Tower at Stars in San Francisco. There he observed the popularity of the San Francisco burritos.
And finally, on July 13, 1993, he opened his own restaurant in Denver, Colorado. This was the very first restaurant of Chipotle Mexican Grill, which was located near the University of Denver, and it sold over 1000 burritos a day.
Is Chipotle Owned By McDonald’s?
The story started way back in 1998 when Steve Ells went to McDonald’s meeting with the burritos and tacos, and the McDonald’s board really loved them.
In the first year, McDonald’s invested $50 million into Chipotle. During the course of time, McDonald’s invested 90% in the Mexican food restaurant.
By 2015, Chipotle opened around 500 new restaurants.
But the story took a drastic turn when McDonald’s wanted to change the name of the restaurant and the menu they were offering and even encouraged to introduce drive-throughs and breakfast in their business models.
When Chipotle ignored all the advice given by McDonald’s and continued to operate its business by its own terms, the giant fast-food chain decided to withdraw from Chipotle.
McDonald’s sold all its shares back to the company and decided to focus on the expansion of its own food business.
Then in 2016, Chipotle went public, doubling its stock prices from $22 to $44.
Since then, Chipotle Mexican Grill has had its own ups and downs, but by sticking to its vision and mission and by not allowing McDonald’s to change its brand strategy, Chipotle has succeeded today.
Who Are The Top Shareholders Of Chipotle?
Here is a breakdown of major shareholders of Chipotle:
|Percentage Of Shares
|% of Shares held by all insiders
|% of Shares held by institutions
|% of Float held by institutions
As of 2023, the top institutional shareholder of Chipotle is Vanguard Group Inc. holding 2,670,584 shares.
Who Are The Competitors Of Chipotle?
Chipotle has been one of the most dynamic growth companies in the restaurant industry.
However, it doesn’t have a monopoly in the industry, so it must face close competition from other Mexican food restaurants.
Some of the major competitors of the restaurants are listed below:
1. Qdoba Mexican Eats
It is a large fast-casual Mexican food restaurant chain and one of the most prominent competitors of Chipotle.
In 2018, after 15 years of expansion under the ownership of fast-food giant Jack in the Box, Qdoba was sold to Apollo Global Management.
2. Moe’s Southwest Grill
Moe’s Southeast Grill differentiated them with a fun and offbeat environment. They named their dishes after famous TV and movie stars.
In 2021, the restaurant was sold to Focus Brands.
3. Baja Fresh Mexican Grill
Baja Fresh is an American chain of fast-casual Tex-Mex restaurants founded in California in 1990. In 2013, Baja Fresh introduced a new restaurant design, along with a menu that emphasizes food flavors and freshness.
It is now operated and franchised by MTY group, which also oversees La Salsa Mexican Grill.
4. Taco Bell
Taco Bell is an American multinational chain of fast-food restaurants owned by YUM! Brands. In 2020, Taco Bell was operating in 7000 locations.
To keep up with the changing preferences of the consumer, they also introduced a Fresco menu providing healthier food and improved quality of the ingredients.
5. Rubio’s Coastal Grill
Rubio’s is primarily based in the West, but it also expanded into Florida in the year 2019.
Rubio Coastal Grill is an American fast-casual ‘Fresh Mex’ or ‘New Mex’ restaurant chain specializing in Mexican food.
How To Open Chipotle Franchise?
The fast-casual restaurant chain doesn’t offer franchise opportunities. In 2016, they stopped providing the franchise opportunity due to their desire to own the entire corporate ownership of the restaurant and personally examine the operation of the business.
So as of today, all Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants are company-owned. You must also access the information regarding Chipotle’s owner’s salary.
So, who owns Chipotle?
The answer is CEO Steve Ells. There have been many controversies regarding Chipotle Mexican Grill, like food safety issues, and questions were also raised on how much the CEO, Steve Ells, makes in Chipotle.
But despite all these controversies, Steve Ells stuck to his mission and vision for the restaurant and established a successful venture.
Does McDonald's still owns Chipotle?
No, McDonald’s doesn’t Chipotle. McDonald’s was a major investor in Chipotle in 1998. However, it completely divested itself from Chipotle in the year 2006 and focused on its own expansion.
Are Chipotle privately-owned?
All of Chipotle’s restaurants are company-owned and not franchised.
How much does Chipotle make in a year?
A single Chipotle store makes an average of $2.2 million in revenue per year. The profit margin of the story is 22%.