Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc: Food with Integrity

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STETSON UNIVERSITY Strategic Management | EMBA | Cohort 12 Cristiane Gandin Case Analysis: Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. : Food with Integrity KEY PROBLEM Dealing with analysts predictions, economy downturns, and growing competition has not being easy for Chipotle Mexican Grill executives, and after two decades of a well designed differentiation strategy, the market seems to question the 'Food with Integrity" company's mission, forcing its executives to analyze and respond to market changes as fast as possible, in order to keep competitiveness advantage and steady growth. Despite the year of 2011 has been great for Chipotle, Steven Ells, its founder, chairman of the board, and co-CEO, is facing difficult and questionable times regarding its business model, and strategy. Since its opening, in the 90's, Chipotle Mexican Grill has experienced a steady growth in the US market, and has even became a global company, with restaurants in Canada, United Kingdom and France. Owning and operating more than 1,300 restaurants among those countries, Chipotle has turned into a 2,3 billion company in 20 years of operation, and has never gave up on its mission to offer "food with integrity". Reinventing Mexican food was the first goal of a visionary chef, who in 1993 began a small business with $85,000 and one thing in mind; finding the very best ingredients raised with respect for the animals, the environment and the farmers. A formula that has worked since then, and that took Chipotle to a very comfortable position in the 'fast casual food service' segment, facing small competition based on its differentiation business strategy, and on its customer loyalty. However, this position has been threaten by large restaurant chains, coming from the full service or from the quick service segments, interested in a segment that has been growing; the healthy segment. With

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