Chipotle Just Passed An Incredible Milestone

The fast food chain Chipotle has been a hot topic as of late. The restaurant raised its prices in the summer of 2021, arguing that it was necessary if they were to pay their workers a higher wage (via CNN). Chipotle also noted rising ingredient cost as a reason, but the point remained locked onto how an average hourly wage of $15 was unsustainable without more expensive products. People were upset about the price increase, but the issue was not having to pay for people's wages, but that Brian Niccol, the CEO of Chipotle, still received a $23 million bonus in 2020, according to Newsweek.

Bernie Sanders took issue with this. "Corporate greed," his team tweeted on February 12, "is Chipotle increasing its profits by 181% last year to $764 million, giving its CEO a 137% pay raise to $38 million in 2020 and blaming the rising cost of a burrito on a minimum wage worker who got a 50 cent pay raise. That's not inflation. That's price gouging." Perhaps. But such a hike is also a sign of how successful Chipotle is and will probably continue to be as it expands. Now, the restaurant is celebrating an exciting milestone.

Chipotle is planning to keep growing

Chipotle has just opened its 3,000th restaurant, according to CNN. The restaurant in question is in Phoenix and features the Chipotlane, the drive-thru system Chipotle has begun to embrace under the pressures of the pandemic that will be a big change at the new Chipotle locations. However, the company intends to leave that milestone far behind. While once the goal was to have 6,000 Chipotle in the United States, rocketing revenue has convinced the executives to be even more ambitious. 

The chain now has plans to expand to 7,000 restaurants, per a press release from the brand. CNN quoted analyst Peter Saleh, who said the shaking the pandemic has given the restaurant industry may play a role in Chipotle's growth: Smaller chains and individual restaurants may have been thrown into disarray, making now a good moment for Chipotle to expand. We won't see the passing of another massive milestone immediately though. As QSR writes, Chipotle has plans for 235 to 250 new restaurants this year. Most of these will feature a Chipotlane, which may prove to be a hit with car-centric demographics.