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Chipotle will open first Canadian restaurant since 2018 as it accelerates international expansion

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A chicken burrito, guacamole, bag of tortilla chips, and a drink at a Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. restaurant in El Segundo, California.

Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Chipotle Mexican Grill said Tuesday that it’s planning to accelerate its Canadian expansion over the next 12 months.

While the company has restaurants in four countries outside the United States, it’s taken longer than its peers to build up its international presence, and its footprint only spans two continents. Instead, it has focused on reviving its U.S. sales after a series of foodborne illness outbreaks several years ago battered its business.

To lure customers back, it implemented new safety measures and added menu items. It’s also been building locations with “Chipotlanes,” drive-thru lanes for digital order pickup.

Worldwide, the company has more than 2,750 locations.

The burrito chain will add eight new restaurants, including one with a Chipotlane. On March 30, Chipotle will open its first Canadian restaurant since 2018 in Surrey, British Columbia. The company currently operates 23 Canadian restaurants, most of which are concentrated in and around Vancouver and Toronto.

“We will be experimenting with different location formats and restaurant designs throughout the country to gauge consumer preferences in the various markets,” CFO Jack Hartung said in a statement.

Shares of Chipotle have risen 4% so far in 2021, giving it a market value of $40.6 billion.

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