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Chipotle's--Article in NY Times


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Chipotle's--Article in NY Times

Tom Holmberg | Sep 29, 2002 02:21 PM

Article in today's (Sunday) NY Times (in the Business Section) on Chipotle.

(I will have to confess to enjoying Chipotle's Vegetarian Fajita Burrito.)

"A few years after opening a boutique taqueria in his hometown, Denver, Steven Ells was eager to expand. His original Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant — named for a smoked and dried jalapeño pepper — was doing well, as was a branch nearby he had opened to handle overflow crowds.

"But Mr. Ells, who trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., lacked the business experience and the capital to expand on his own. At the time, 1997, venture capital firms were more interested in computer chips than tortilla chips, he said, so on a hunch he sent an unsolicited business plan to one company that he knew had a record of financing, building and running restaurants: the McDonald's Corp....

."I used to always eat burritos in the Mission District from all the little taquerias," he remembered. "It just struck me one day how cool it was to wrap everything up in a giant flour tortilla. I thought, `Wow, this is a really interesting burrito; I should start one of these little taquerias, but change up the ingredients.' "...

."After buying a minority interest in Chipotle in 1998, McDonald's became the majority shareholder in 2000; Mr. Ells and his father own the rest of the company."

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