perspectives Inside Chipotle with CEO Brian Niccol When Brian Niccol, ’03, took the reins at Chipotle in 2018 from founder Steve Ells, he brought with him a stellar industry reputation from his time at Yum! Brands, including a stint as CEO of Taco Bell, and senior posts at Procter & Gamble Co. He quickly delighted fans, pulling off a remarkable turnaround of the beleaguered brand through new, innovative ideas in its 2,500-plus stores. For one, Niccol turned off-premises ordering into a reality through new digital offerings, increasing revenue roughly $500 million in one year. “It’s a dramatic change,” said Niccol. Investors are taking notice, with the company’s stock growing by 40 percent in 2018 and hitting an all-time high this August. "It’s time to reshape fast casual. In the restaurant industry, you are seeing a big change in where and how people want to access their restaurant experience. We’ve provided customers with the ability to do that in different ways. The more you can make your brand more accessible without compromising the culinary experience and ingredients, the better. The biggest example is that we’ve created a digital sales system. Two years ago, it made up less than 5 percent of our business; today it’s over 18 percent. Even in the last quarter, digital ordering brought in $262 million of revenue, which is more than that entire business did in all of 2016. We’re giving diners a thought-out experience. When people order through the app, they can walk into the restaurant and grab and go, or get delivery. We put in a separate digital makeline so our team members can handle all of the orders coming in off premises. We don’t want those ordering via digital to affect the restaurant service line."