Chipotle restaurant

Is Chipotle A Franchise?

Want to open a Chipotle franchise? Here’s the latest on who owns Chipotle, Chipotle franchise opportunities and franchise fees, and Chipotle franchise alternatives.


With over 2,750 locations, the Chipotle restaurant chain has made a broad global impact on the restaurant industry since it burst onto the scene in 1993. Considered a healthier alternative to other quick-service Mexican-style alternatives, Chipotle also revolutionized the type of fast-casual menu customization we see in more restaurants today, which offer customers a range of options within focused categories that are both convenient and inexpensive while of an elevated quality.

This approach enhances the interaction between customer and restaurant — giving diners control over exactly what they would like in their dishes, based on personal tastes and any dietary restrictions, while leaving the food preparation in the trained hands of the kitchen staff. Chipotle serves food without artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives, placing high value on fresh ingredients and “food with integrity.”


The short answer to “Is Chipotle a franchise?” is NO, although it once was. Back in 1996, McDonald’s became a massive investor in Chipotle, and their investment paved the way for the company to expand to over 500 restaurants by 2005. When McDonald’s divested in 2006, the company then bought back all franchises and the units became solely company owned. Although specific Chipotle franchise costs and investment figures for a brand that no longer franchises are unavailable, similar concepts such as Qdoba and Moe’s Southwest Grill require a franchise fee around $30,000 and an average initial investment ranging upwards of $1.1 million for new franchise owners, a substantial price tag.

As of today, Chipotle claims they are no longer taking on franchisees because they don’t want to “give up control” of how their restaurants are run. While it’s true that business owners give up a certain amount of corporate-level control by working as a franchisee, many other brands see this as a strength rather than an imposition.

For motivated entrepreneurs who appreciate the Chipotle model and are interested in franchising, there are other promising options for you to invest and grow your business. Other brands count franchising as a source of strength and embrace the concept to help build their impact.


For enthusiastic entrepreneurs interested in a successful franchise that delivers bold flavors, an innovative concept, and the support of an award-winning brand, look no further than Teriyaki Madness (TMAD).

Cornering three of the hottest restaurant markets, Asian, Chicken, and Fast Casual, TMAD’s fresh, intuitive menu is big on taste for customers and provides an adaptive, scalable business model for franchise owners. Like Chipotle, TMAD is a healthy, delicious alternative to many other fast casual spots. With a focus on quality and fresh ingredients made by hand by people who care, customers can anticipate a one-of-a-kind, satisfying meal every time they visit.

Named one of the fastest growing big brand restaurant chains in the country, TMAD is a unique Seattle-style Japanese bowl franchise that sees the value in building our brand with like-minded franchisees who have a passion for customer service, quality food, and fun. The initial franchise fee to own a TMAD location is $45,000, with total initial costs ranging from $327,200 to $678,260*, making the franchise’s affordability and dynamic customer draw an awesome opportunity. With an Average Unit Volume (AUV) of $1.07 million*, TMAD is proving to be a winning franchise. Our affordable investment costs, strong support team, and unique brand identity make TMAD a killer concept. Franchising since 2005, TMAD has expanded to over 100 locations and shows no signs of slowing down. Perfect for qualified candidates seeking a delicious multi-unit ownership opportunity, TMAD is a no-brainer!

If you’d like to learn more about franchising opportunities with Teriyaki Madness, download our free Franchise Report, and give the people what they want.

* Refer to the 2021 Franchise Disclosure Document

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The people have spoken, and they want Teriyaki. Asian and Fast Casual are the two fastest growing segments in the restaurant industry. Join the Japanese franchise revolution and give people what they want: HUGE BOWLS OF AWESOMENESS!


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