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Press release content from NewMediaWire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

Chipotle Franchise? Why It Doesn’t & 3 Closest Alternatives

January 4, 2021 GMT

Richmond, Virginia - ( NewMediaWire ) - January 04, 2021 - announces the release of the report “Chipotle Franchise.” Learn why the company does not franchise and the best alternative franchise opportunities that you can start. 

Click here to to see the 5 closest Chipotle franchise alternatives

A Bit About Chipotle

Chipotle opened its first restaurant back in 1993 in the heart of Denver, Colorado. This company-owned restaurant chain currently operates more than 2,200 restaurant locations.


Chipotle is widely known for its burrito bowls, as well as a variety of other high-quality menu items, including tacos, burritos, and sales. The motto of Chipotle restaurants is “Food with Integrity,” as all of their food is made with quality raw ingredients and is prepared using traditional cooking methods.

Chiptole’s founder, Steve Ells, created the Chipotle business model as a way to show that fast-food could also serve high-quality food without added preservatives or coloring.

Profitability of Chipotle Restaurants

One place to see store level profits for Chipotle restaurants is by looking at the company’s  public filings. Chipotle reports all of its quarterly finances and profits because it is a publicly traded company.

As of recently, Chipotle restaurants average next to $2 million in sales with a peak of around $2.5 million.

In terms of profitability, the store-level profits for a normal Chipotle location hover around 20% of the overall sales of $400,000 for each store with a peak of around $600,000 per store.

Click here to to see the 5 closest Chipotle franchise alternatives

Is Chipotle a Franchise?

Back in 2018, Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol announced that the company would be considering the possibility of franchising Chipotle Mexican Grill. As of now, Chipotle still owns all of its stores.

The restaurant chain bought back the few franchises that it had sold so that it would be a completely corporate-owned commodity.

While the possibility of the company once again going into talks about franchising, they have yet to make any concrete announcements regarding the matter. As of now, investors cannot even license out Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants like one might be able to with a Starbucks, for example.


Until the day comes where changes in the franchise system are made, those looking to franchise Chipotle Mexican Grill locations should consider looking for other franchising opportunities. See for the  best franchises to own, which includes the top 12 most lucrative opportunities.

Top 5 Chipotle Alternatives

Moe’s Southwest Grill

While Taco Bell is one of the top Mexican restaurant chains according to the Entrepreneur Franchise 500, ownership of a Taco Bell can be quite costly. Many franchisees looking to franchise Mexican restaurants look to Moe’s Southwest Mexican Grill instead, as it is very similar to Chipotle in terms of food.

Moe’s Southwest Grill carries a variety of ingredients and menu items in the same realm as Chipotle, including nachos, tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and more.

While the cost of owning a Moe’s Southwest Grill location might be cheaper than Taco Bell, it is certainly not an inexpensive business opportunity by any means.

The franchising plan for owning a Moe’s Southwest Grill still calls for $1.5 million in net worth and up to $500,000 in liquid cash.


McDonald’s might be an expensive choice for franchisees, though it is also one of the easiest investment choices in the food industry. For starters, it is the top company on the Franchise 500 and it has an investment in Chipotle already.

Thanks to the early investment from McDonald’s into Chipotle restaurants, the business grew at hyper-speed without the need for a franchise business model. Steve Ells, the founder of Chipotle, turned to McDonald’s back in 1998 and the fast-food chain eventually became the primary shareholder.

Back in 2006, McDonald’s divested in Chipotle, though it is still one of the best choices for new franchise owners out there.


Another very similar choice for those seeking out a Chipotle alternative is the Qdoba fast-food chain. Qdoba opened up in 1995, two years after the Mexican grill Chipotle first opened its doors.

Each company began in Denver, Colorado and each company is headquartered in Southern California. Similar to Chipotle, Qdoba received an investment from a major burger chain early on — Jack in the Box.

Costa Vida

Costa Vida is a Mexican restaurant franchise with a healthy twist, emphasizes healthy ingredients and food made from scratch. None of the food from Costa Vida is premade and none of it is ever frozen. As of now, this Mexican franchise chain has over 100 stores and is expanding into unique locations, including malls and airports.

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop is very similar to Chipotle, serving generous portions of Mexican dishes at inexpensive prices. The taco shop first opened up in Fort Worth, Texas back in 2003. They currently have more than 100 locations around the world.

The franchise prides itself on creating a laid-back, party-style atmosphere. Many feel as if it is the “sports bar” version of Chipotle.

Why Doesn’t Chipotle Franchise?

Chris Arnold, a Chipotle spokesperson, said in an interview a few years ago that, “The reason we don’t franchise is because we don’t need to.”

Typically, companies will franchise their restaurants due to the fact that they need money to expand. Because Chipotle does not have trouble attracting visitors or growing its brand, it does not need to relinquish any location control or look for more financing.

Chipotle aims to keep a close watch over the effectiveness of its operations and assembly lines. The company also likes keeping the highest possible control over its sourcing and food. Without franchising, it can manage the elements of business better than other food franchises.

Investing In Franchises

Though Chipotle is out of the question for the foreseeable future, there are plenty of other options for those interested in franchises in the restaurant industry.

It is extremely important to do research to see how much money is required to start franchising with a particular business and how much work goes into the business post-purchase.

Click here to to see the 5 closest Chipotle franchise alternatives