Will Denver Remain the Fast Casual Capital of the World?

Will Denver Remain the Fast Casual Capital of the World?

Denver, Colorado is where many of today's most popular fast casual concepts got their start. 

Chipotle opened its first burrito shop in Denver in 1993.  However, the fast casual that started it all, is officially moving its headquarters to Newport Beach, CA and will be closing its home-based office in Denver.

"In order to align the structure around our strategic priorities, we are transforming our culture and building world-class teams to revitalize the brand and enable our long-term success," said Brian Niccol, chief executive officer at Chipotle in a recent press release. "We'll always be proud of our Denver roots where we opened our first restaurant 25 years ago. The consolidation of offices and the move to California will help us drive sustainable growth while continuing to position us well in the competition for top talent."

Chipotle will be transitioning both its Denver and New York offices to the new Newport Beach, CA office and to its existing office in Columbus, OH over the next six months. 

400 of its employees in Denver and New York will either be relocated or offered retention packages. 

But Chipotle isn't the only Denver-founded fast casual to make a recent headquarter move either. 

Another pioneering fast casual chain, Qdoba, which was founded also in the city in 1995 and was acquired by Jack in the Box in 2003, moved its headquarters to San Diego in 2017. 

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Take a Quick Bite of this Fast Casual 2.0 Concept– Denver's Chop Shop

Can you believe this grilled salmon dish is from a Fast Casual? This fine- dining inspired Fast Casual, Chop Shop offers the best of both worlds– a casual atmosphere with sophisticated fare and quality and fast service. 

Chop Shop — A Fast Casual 2.0 Concept That is Shaking Up the Fast Food Industry

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In this episode of Fast Casual Nation, brought to you by the Foodable Network, host Paul Barron takes a trip to one of Denver's premier chef-driven, fast casual restaurants. Owner Clint Wangsnes worked for high-end establishments, but longed for the intimate atmosphere found in fast casual dining after starting a family. With seasonally crafted beer, wine, all natural cane sodas and a rich menu, the Chop Shop doesn't cut corners in excellent service just because it has to be quick. Foods come from local farms and the Chop Shop uses sustainable items to conserve the planet. The Chop Shop may be trying to leave the smallest footprint on the Earth, but its taking huge strides in the fast casual industry.