• Top 100: Chipotle Mexican Grill No. 7

Top 100: Chipotle Mexican Grill No. 7

7. Chipotle Mexican Grill

Denver / No. of units: 1,023

Chipotle Mexican Grill has redefined the term “hot streak.” The burrito chain, known for its “Food with Integrity,” has attracted throngs of consumers through innovative marketing, creative culinary offerings and a promise to protect the environment.

A new marketing program consisted of advertising, a revamped website and packaging that emphasized Chipotle’s commitment to using the best sustainable ingredients.

“While we have never sourced these ingredients to be a marketing platform, it is what makes Chipotle so different from other restaurant companies, and we think people are more receptive to hearing it now more than ever before,” said Mark Crumpacker, chief marketing officer.

Building on that commitment to sustainability, Chipotle installed solar panels on 75 of its 1,023 restaurants to decrease the environmental impact caused by its operations. The chain also expanded its purchasing of locally sourced produce and began using naturally raised beef in its beef barbacoa product.

And that wasn’t all; Chipotle started testing a vegan version of its classic burrito in New York City and Washington, D.C., and a kids’ menu in Chicago, which was a continuation of the chain’s kids’ meal program introduced in 2009.

As the rest of the industry’s players struggled in 2010 to ramp up revenues, Chipotle reported a 39.1 percent jump in net income to $132.5 billion a 19.7 percent uptick in revenues to $1.35 billion, and same-store-sales increases of 8.3 percent for the nine months ended Sept. 30. And the burrito behemoth didn’t stop there. It continued to grow, opening a total of 123-130 stores, including one in London.

— By Elissa Elan

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