This case, developed primarily from secondary sources, describes the founding of Chipotle Mexican Grill (Chipotle, hereafter) in 1993 by Steve Ells and its rapid ascent to popularity as a fast-casual restaurant based on its unique socially responsible Food with Integrity strategy. Under the leadership of founder-CEO Steve Ells and co-CEO Montgomery Moran, Chipotle outperformed the S&P 500 as well as its rivals since its IPO in 2006. However, in 2015, the multiple food contamination outbreaks reversed its course, plunging its stock price to an all-time low. In spite of the prompt actions taken by Chipotle’s leadership, the company’s stock price did not regain its pre-scandal highs in the stock market. However, on September 6, 2016, news of activist investor, Bill Ackman’s purchase of 9.9% of Chipotle’s stock gave a much-needed boost to Chipotle’s depressed stock. This case gives students the opportunity to step into the shoes of a young individual investor, Michael Jacobs, to assess the potential impact of Ackman’s investment on the company’s strategy and performance and decide whether or not he should divest his Chipotle holdings.
[table id=149 /]