Chipotle expanding to Middle East

Chipotle Mexican Grill has partnered with international franchise operator Alshaya Group to open restaurants in Dubai and Kuwait early next year before expanding further across the Middle East.

“Leveraging Alshaya’s market expertise will enable us to quickly gain access to these vibrant economies,” Chipotle Chairman and CEO Brian Niccol said in a company press release “We are excited to offer guests in the Middle East our responsibly sourced, classically-cooked real food, and look forward to furthering our purpose to cultivate a better world in this new territory.”

Chipotle’s international portfolio of owned and operated restaurants includes 33 locations in Canada; 15 in the U.K. with three opening this summer; six in France and two in Germany. In North America, the company owns and operates over 3,200 restaurants and is targeting 8% to 10% growth per year for the foreseeable future with at least 80% including a Chipotlane.

“In announcing this exclusive partnership across the Middle East, we are proud to be Chipotle’s first and only franchise partner, as we continue to enhance our portfolio by bringing world-leading brands to our customers across our markets,” Mohammed Alshaya, executive chairman of Alshaya Group, said in the release

Chipotle plans to open over 255 restaurants this year with a long-term target of 7,000 locations in North America.

Chipotle’s newly-formed business development group, led by Chief Business Development Officer Nate Lawton, is exploring opportunities for growth via outside partnerships.

Source: Fast Casual

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