Conor Mac's avatar
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Why Chipotle Struggles in the UK
Doing some research into the Mexican fast-serve market in the UK, and found it odd that Chipotle $CMG , with over 3,000 stores worldwide have been in the market for over a decade but are not one of the largest competitors. They really only have a presence within London, with the likes of Wahaca, Barburrito, and Tortilla Mexican Grill leading the way.


It would appear that after covid struck, Chiptole's management discovered that their ROI is best earned in domestic markets (the US), after originally thinking that the market was saturated. I also found call additional context on the expert call network on AlphaSense, where I found commentary from a former Real Estate Manager and Former Director at the company.

A former Chipotle Director would talk about the uniformity of the supply chain in North America, from the menu, ingredients, tech, marketing, messaging, and training, stating that “you could walk into one store in Vancouver, Canada, and another in Columbia, South Carolina, and you wouldn't know the difference.” This cost advantage is not present in the UK.


Further context from a former Real Estate Manager at Chipotle suggested that sourcing of non-GMO and naturally raised produce can be a challenge.

Conor's avatar
What? I thought all of Chipotle's food was non-GMO and naturally raised. This is news to me! As someone who eats Chipotle four times a week, I would love to have Chipotle in the UK to see if there are any taste differences. Not having delivery is a killer. Also, what is the price for a burrito bowl there? It used to be around $10 here but lately it has been over $13.00 if you get guac.

We also don't have Wahaca, Barburrito, or Tortilla Mexican Grill here. At least I never heard of them. Are there models similar to Chipotle?
Conor Mac's avatar
@conorvalue They are all UK only, and they are essentially the same as Chipotle, bar for branding and a lick of paint.

Burrito will cost anywhere between £7.50 and £9.50 here, spending where you shop without extras.
Conor Mac's avatar
@conorvalue Good find, I guess maybe him commentary means that its harder to find non-GMO? Or finding the quality of ingredients is harder in the UK?

Good point, because this will alter the piece I am writing atm.
Conor Mac's avatar
@investmenttalk On second thought, I think that's right, he is alluding to the fact is HAS to be non-GMO etc, not that they usually DONT have that in the US.
Conor's avatar
@investmenttalk It would be smart to ignore everything I say. Just a future tip. LOL

Kidding aside, I thought Europe was all about nutrition and non-GMO, and America was the land of trans fat and chemicals.
Conor Mac's avatar
@conorvalue I believe the UK is, I know Tortilla source only high quality, but I think we both just confused what the director actually meant haha.
Modern Growth Investing's avatar
i have a simpler explaination, crap food
Conor Mac's avatar
@growthinvesting hahaha. Never tried it, but Wahaca, Barburrito, and Tortilla are pretty lit.

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