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“We are very encouraged by the prospects for Chipotle in the UK,” says Steve Ells, founder, chairman, and co-CEO of Chipotle. “London has become an important food city over the years, especially because of the awareness of and desire for things like locally sourced, seasonal, and artisanal ingredients. These are all core values of Chipotle and we have been instrumental in bringing this kind of thinking to fast food in the U.S. We call it ‘Food with Integrity’ and it is how we are changing the way people think about fast food. We believe Londoners will appreciate our efforts to serve food that is raised right and in a way that is so accessible.”
The majority of Chipotle’s growth through 2010 will be in the U.S., though the company continues to look for additional sites in London. Beyond its interest in the UK, Chipotle has also started to look for locations in Paris and Munich, but has not identified specific sites or released timelines for expansion into these markets.
“In many ways, the food culture in Europe matches our priorities much more closely than in the U.S.,” Ells says. “I think we’ll be able to source beautiful ingredients from local and sustainable sources from the time we open in the UK, and establish sustainable supply chains elsewhere as we look at other European markets.”
The landlord for Chipotle’s first London restaurant is London-based Estates & Agency Holdings Limited. The company is working with local brokerage firms in London, Paris, and Munich to help identify potential locations as it looks for additional sites.