Company: Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.
Brand Value: $5,684 Million
Headquarters: Denver, CO
Category: Fast food
Year formed: 1993
Chipotle is one of the first fast casual restaurant chains, specializing in a Mexican-inspired menu of tacos and burritos. Founded by a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, Steve Ells, the brand distinguished itself early on by presenting “food with integrity.” While the exact definition of this has changed over time, it has generally meant using locally sourced, higher quality ingredients, which translate to superior taste and value. That has had an upside as well as a downside, as the brand recently faced several widely-publicized outbreaks of food-borne illnesses. It has responded to the scandals, however, by focusing on catering, digital ordering, new menu items, and advertising—something it has not traditionally done. Its “As real as it gets” campaign, for example, highlights its small, quality ingredient list when compared with competitors. As of July 2017, parent company Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. operated 2,339 restaurants, 2,295 of which are Chipotles. At the same time, it reported that revenue inrevenue in the first half of 2017 was up 22 percent over the previous year.