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Executive Summary
The fast-casual restaurant industry was the pioneered by Steven Ellis, the CEO of Chipotle Mexican Grill. Now considered the leader in the fast casual industry, Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG), first opened their doors in the spring of 1993 in heart of Denver, Colorado. Immediately Chipotle’s was a hit with the younger college crowd, and through word of mouth, CMG quickly became a staple for many residents near the college where the first restaurant opened. Since then, Chipotle has opened up 1230 stores in 46 states, including stores in Canada and recently London. Chipotle was built around the idea of simplicity, keep the menu simple and serve high quality, farm fresh, free range ingredients. “Food with Integrity” has been the corporate credo ever since.

While continuing to grow its US presence, Chipotle should focus on enhancing its menu offerings, expanding slowly, to ensure it doesn’t stray from its already successful formula. Chipotle should also highlight and continue to promote its “Food with Integrity” campaign by advertising more heavily and focusing on the saving the family farm as a major differentiating factor between themselves and their competitors.

Situational Analysis

In 1993, Steve Ellis founded Chipotle Mexican Grill in a former Dolly Madison Ice Store in Denver, Colorado. A former student of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York; Steve Ellis became a line cook for large restaurant in San Francisco, California. Taking what he learned, Ellis decided to open a restaurant near the University of Denver campus using a loan from his father of $85,000 dollars. He calculated that in order to turn a profit he would have to sell 107 burritos a day! After one month in business the little restaurant named “Chipotle” (the Mexican Spanish name for a smoked, dried jalapeno chili) was selling over 1,000 a day.

With the money made from the first Chipotle Mexican Grill, Ellis had planned to open a...
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