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Chipotle Script

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Behind the Label: Chipotle

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Line cook Steve Ells observed the popularity of the taquerías and burritos while working at the Mission District restaurant, Stars

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1993
Ells took what he learned in San Francisco and opened the first Chipotle Mexican Grill in Denver, Colorado

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Its name derives from chipotle, the Nahuatl name for a smoked and dried jalapeño chili pepper

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Originally planning to use Chipotle's profits to open a fine-dining restaurant, Ellis focused on Chipotle Mexican Grill when the restaurants saw success

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1998
McDonald's made an initial minority investment in the company

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The investment from McDonald's allowed the firm to quickly expand, from 16 restaurants in 1998 to over 500 by 2005

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2006
Chipotle made its IPO after increasing the share price to $44 per share

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2018
Chipotle announced that it would relocate headquarters from Denver to Newport Beach, CA

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Chipotle has been implicated in several health outbreaks, including norovirus (2008), E. coli (2015) and Salmonella (2015)

Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG - Get Report)  is scheduled to report second-quarter earnings after the bell Tuesday, July 23, 2019.

Chipotle is among the "Big Five" (a self-coined term) - consisting of McDonald's (MCD - Get Report) , Yum Brands YUM, Darden Restaurants (DRI - Get Report) , Domino's Pizza (DPZ - Get Report) , and - of course - Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Ever wonder how Chipotle got its start?

It all began with a line cook's idea.  53-year-old Steve Ells opened his first Chipotle Mexican Grill in 1993. The rest, as they say, is history. 

As of June 30, 2019, the chain has flourished to approximately 2,500 locations and more than 80,000 employees.

Watch the video for a look back at its 26 year history.

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Editor's note: this story has been updated to reflect the new employment numbers.