http://www.digitaljournal.com/life/food/chipotle-mexican-grill-changing-the-face-of-fast-food/article/400379

Chipotle Mexican Grill: Changing the face of fast food

Posted Aug 30, 2014 by James Walker
Chipotle Mexican Grill is one of the largest, most popular restaurants around, intending to offer an authentic Mexican experience with open kitchens and attractive design. It's no surprise then that the company is thriving.
A Chipotle worker prepares food in Denver  Colorado  on August 17  2013
A Chipotle worker prepares food in Denver, Colorado, on August 17, 2013
Jason Bahr, Getty/AFP/File
The authentic Mexican restaurant chain is making huge gains, leading to a revenue increase of 28.6 percent over the last quarter and a 26.6 percent increase in sales to $1.95 billion from last year.
The company opened 45 new restaurants in the second quarter of this year alone and Market Realist reports that this quarter the company reported a same-store sales growth of 17.3 percent, highlighting both the chain's success and popularity.
The growth has been fuelled by another factor too, though: the company recently revised its menu prices, increasing them to bring them in line with their competitors and general inflation. Despite beef now costing around 9% more on average, sales have still been very strong as Chipotle actively works to ensure all of its ingredients come from sustainable, well-managed sources in its "Food with integrity" campaign.
Customers have also been drawn in by the promise of quality food for low price. Despite the recent increases, it is still possible to pick up a chicken burrito in New York for around $8 - less than some casual dining restaurants or a combo at McDonald's.
Overall sales and operating leverage have also been improved by launching the new Chipotle catering service, designed to feed 6 to 200 guests at events. This aspect of the business accounted for 1.6 percent of the revenue, up 1.3 percent from last year.
The core idea of Chipotle - the consumption of delicious, Mexican food - is still being thoroughly explored though. The company is proud to have an "open" kitchen, visible to the entire restaurant, where you can stand and watch in the midst of atmospheric music as ingredients are added to your meal. With this kind of year on year performance, it seems as though Chipotle Mexican Grill are only going up in the world.