Brian Niccol of Chipotle Mexican Grill: Top 2021 Barron CEOs


Brian Niccol, CEO of Chipotle Mexican Grill since 2018

Photographic illustration by Hayley Warnham; Reference: Kim Cook Photography, Inc./Chipotle Mexican Grill

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When Brian Niccol, 47, became CEO of

Mexican Grill Chipotle

In 2018, the Mexican quick-service chain was reeling from quality control issues after several outbreaks of foodborne illness linked to its products. A year later, the issue was resolved, profits hit a record high and the stock rebounded. Then came the Covid, which dealt a fatal blow to many restaurants. Not Chipotle. The company used a revamped online system to manage its digital orders, which grew dramatically during the pandemic.

This year, Chipotle is getting better and better. Comparable restaurant sales increased 17.2% in the first quarter and the company focused on comparable sales growth in the range of 20% to 30% for the second quarter.

Chipotle has raised prices by around 4% on its entire menu, citing higher labor costs. He also said he would pay new and existing workers an average of $ 15 an hour by the end of June, and that he plans to hire 20,000 employees in 2021.

Niccol plans to open 200 locations this year. It is investing in more digital capabilities, menu innovation and a fast-growing rewards program that has reached 21 million people, he said at a recent conference.

Write to Teresa Rivas at [email protected]

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