Steve Ells - Promoting 'Food with Integrity'

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Please note:

This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:


Case Code : LDEN070 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 400;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 400 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges



Case Length : 21 Pages
Period : 2000-09
Pub Date : 2010
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.
Industry : Fast Foods
Countries : US


The case examines the business model of the US based fast casual restaurant chain, Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (CMG). CMG was founded by Steve Ells (Ells) in 1993. The company, which initially sold burritos, was well known for its 'made to order' food and use of organic ingredients. In the late 1990s, the company started expanding rapidly throughout the US. In 2001, CMG released a mission statement called "Food with Integrity," which highlighted its commitment to naturally raise meat, organic produce, and dairy products without adding hormones. Apart from usage of organic ingredients, CMG's restaurant design, marketing strategy and culture of the company played an important role in its success.

The case also analyzes the role of Ells leadership in the success of the company.


Understand the business model of CMG Inc.
Analyze the factors behind the success of CMG Inc.
Examine the leadership style of Steve Ells.
Study the criticisms against CMG
Evaluate the future prospects of the company.


  Page No.
Introduction 1
The Burrito Restaurent 2
Rapid Expansion 4
The Success Saga 5
Criticisms 10
The Road Ahead 12
Exhibits 13


Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., Steve Ells, Entrepreneurship, Leadership Style, Restaurant Design, Business Model, Online Ordering, Restaurant Design, Organic Ingredients, Marketing Strategy, Culture, Carbon Footprint

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