I got the office next door hooked on them. There is this great "taco stand" up the street from our office. They even have Coke with real cane sugar and for some reason it just goes perfectly with Carnitas.
They had a majority interest for a few years but are no longer involved. They are much better than Baja Fresh. As far as large Mexican chains go (fast food or not), its hard to do much better.
Chipotle Mexican Grill originated in Denver, Colorado in 1993 in a former Dolly Madison Ice Cream Store near the University of Denver campus. The name derives from the Mexican Spanish name for a variety of jalapeño chili, and ultimately derives from the Nahua language.
Over 500 restaurants have since opened throughout the United States. All are company-owned, rather than franchised. In 1998, McDonald's made an initial minority investment in the company. By 2001, they had grown to be Chipotle's largest investor. The McDonald's connection allowed the firm to quickly expand, from 14 restaurants in 1998 to 480 at the end of 2005.
On October 25, 2005, Chipotle initially filed for its IPO. On December 23, 2005, in an updated filing, Chipotle indicated that the size of the offering would be approximately 6.3 million shares with a price of $15.50 to $17.50 per share. The price range was increased to $18.00 to $20.00 per share on January 23, 2006, an indication that the demand for the offering was strong. Morgan Stanley and SG Cowen led the offering. The public offering priced on January 25, 2006, at a price of $22 per share. The offering raised approximately $133M in primary capital to fund new store growth. McDonald's sold $66M, including the 15% greenshoe, which was exercised in full.
On its first day as a public company, Chipotle stock rose exactly 100%, closing at $44.00 per share. On September 8, 2006, McDonald's Corp. announced that it had started an offer for its shareholders to exchange McDonald's stock for shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill. The exchange allowed McDonald's shareholders to acquire Chipotle shares at a 10-percent discount. The offer was capped at a level of 0.9157 Chipotle shares for each McDonald's share exchanged owned by McDonald's. On October 13, 2006, McDonald's completed a tax-free swap of class B common stock in Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG), for its own common stock. McDonald's later fully divested its investment in Chipotle, as part of a larger initiative to divest all of its non-core business restaurants – Chipotle, Donato's Pizza, and Boston Market – so that it could squarely focus on the main McDonald's chain.
Founder Steve Ells started as a line cook at the San Francisco restaurant Stars, and attended the Culinary Institute of America. He still serves as chairman and CEO.