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Why Chipotle Sales Lag in London

Back home: a bustling Chipotle Mexican Grill in San Mateo, Calif.
Back home: a bustling Chipotle Mexican Grill in San Mateo, Calif.Photograph by David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Burrito overlord Chipotle has afairly devoted following in the States. (There’s even a fan site.) Not so in the U.K. In a recent earnings call, the company said that Londoners have been slow to warm to its oversized burritos and that awareness of the brand has remained low in the three years since Chipotle arrived.

Overseas expansion has been a key growth strategy for restaurant companies from Yum! to McDonald’s, and Domino’s. Chipotle is still in the early stages of expanding outside of U.S. and it’s moving slowly. The company has 12 international restaurants so far and plans to open an additional four this year, including its first in Germany. Still, “gourmet burritos and tacos,” aka American-style Mexican food, seems to have less allure in the U.K. than good old burgers and pizza do.