Chipotle Founder Reveals Why People Thought His Restaurant Wouldn’t Work

Chipotle Founder Reveals Why People Thought His Restaurant Wouldn’t Work

ASHLEY LUTZ JUL. 19, 2013, 3:13 PM 2,432 1


Chipotle founder and CEO Steve Ells started an empire. But Ells said that many thought his idea of making burritos and tacos from a few fresh ingredients wouldn’t work. On an earnings conference call, Ells described the biggest criticism people had with his first restaurant: “I remember 20 years ago people said, ‘Steve, a menu with burritos and tacos, I mean, you’re going to have to add new stuff pretty soon,'” Ells told investors. “But it’s the combinations of things that people can make, not only for taste but for diet and people can vary enough over the years during their visits that really keeps Chipotle fresh.” Ells opened the first Chipotle in Denver, Colorado in 1993. Today the chain has more than 1,500 locations. And while Chipotle might have few ingredients on the menu, there are a mind-boggling number of combinations to be had. Our math found that 655,360 different options were possible from Chipotle’s current ingredients.

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Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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