Steve Ells, who will be stepping down as CEO of Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., parlayed a 1993 friends-and-family investment into a fast-casual behemoth worth more than $20 billion at one point.
The Culinary Institute of America graduate pioneered the fast-casual segment with his first Denver Chipotle and then, with an investment from McDonald’s Corp. in 1998, spread the company across the United States and abroad.
Chipotle now has 2,350 restaurants.
Here’s a look at Ells and Chipotle’s growth and challenges over the years, from scoring a big, early investor to working to regain consumer confidence after a foodborne illness outbreak.
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