Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Does McDonalds Own Chipotle?
Chipotle was founded in 1993 by Steve Ells in Denver, Colorado, funded by an $85,000 loan from his dad, according to an excellent article by the Rocky Mountain News, Denver’s now defunct paper. The restaurant was based upon Ells time in San Francisco where he studied the burrito stands in the city’s Mission district. His instincts were vindicated as the restaurant was an immediate success. Ells managed to open a chain of five stores around Denver by 1998.
After this initial success, McDonalds did enter the picture, purely as an investment partner in 1998, technically making Chipotle a subsidiary of McDonalds. That same article from the Rocky Mountain News mentions, very briefly, that Ells family connections to McDonalds helped pave the road for Chipotle’s massive expansion. We did not independently verify this fact, but it was published in a major American newspaper, giving it substantial weight in our minds