Chipotle's History and the Decline of the Fast Food Chains

Screenshot from the recent Chipotle animated short- "One Man's Quest for Better Tasting Pork" | Chipotle.com

Screenshot from the recent Chipotle animated short- "One Man's Quest for Better Tasting Pork" | Chipotle.com

You may or may not remember a time when Chipotle was not the mogul it is today. Like most compelling stories, the brand had a humble beginning. It all started with a vision, but to make that vision a reality was no walk in the park. For those of you who are not so familiar with the birth of Chipotle, the first restaurant was opened in Denver. The location was not ideal, but it was cheap. There were no menus and no official recipes. The marketing was not spot on either–"I remember they had this really horrendous green sign. It was just hideous. Everything looked homemade," said Paul Barron, Founder and Producer of Foodable and author of The Chipotle Effect. Now the brand has launched award winning digital marketing campaigns, such as the infamous animated short, "The Scarecrow." Ultimately, consumers could not get enough of the food and the concept. "Every time I opened up another Chipotle, I felt a little bit guilty that I wasn’t doing fine dining," said Steve Ells, Founder and CEO of Chipotle. 

Within the first year, McDonald's had invested about $50 million. Under the fast food brand's wing, Chipotle grew from 13 to about 500 stores. At the time, the fast food mogul was making investments and trying to build the "next McDonald's." However, Chipotle always did things too different for the corporate mogul. So the brands "Mcsplit" and Chipotle went public in 2006. And the rest, as they is, is history.

Even though the business partnership did not work out as planned for the quick-serve giant, McDonald's saw the potential of the brand and attributed to the success of the Taco fast casual. Chipotle is the fast casual that arguably started it all– so does that mean McDonald's is partially to blame for the raise of fast casual and the decline of quick-serve? Read More