Chipotle Expands To Kuwait, Its First International Location In A Decade

Burrito lovers, rejoice. Chipotle world domination has arrived — at least, it's well on its way. Chipotle is joining forces with international franchiser Alshaya Group to bring a new restaurant location to Kuwait City, marking the fast-casual chain's first international expansion in over 10 years, according to a press release. Technically, the eatery at the bustling shopping center The Avenues has been open with limited hours since early April as employees have been trained, but the official grand opening is scheduled for Tuesday, April 23. The Avenues Mall sees roughly 1 million visitors per week, making the spot a prime location for Chipotle's latest international venture.

The opening will mark Chipotle's first foray into Kuwait as well as some other momentous "firsts" for the chain. The new Kuwait City location will be equipped with the latest in Chipotle's lobby technology. In addition to the chain's classic assembly-line-style bowl and burrito building, guests will have access to in-restaurant ordering, information kiosks, and QR code stickers for future mobile pickup orders via the Alshaya Chipotle app.

The updates aren't just for tech lovers. Kuwait Chipotle is also debuting a new interior design format, which features wood tiled floors over concrete, minimal chipotle-pepper centric wall art, and an intricate, sculptural, three-dimensional ceiling grid. Per the press release, the textural wall and ceiling patterns are designed to evoke a warmer, fresher, "natural" feel.

New horizons and new design concepts

According to Chipotle Chief Business Development Officer Nate Lawton, these global developments will be collaborative depending on customer feedback. "Together, we'll continue to gather insights on regional preferences and adapt accordingly as we grow our presence in the region," Lawton explained, via the press release. John Hadden, Chief Executive Officer of Alshaya Group, expounds that maintaining consistency in both product and atmosphere will be key for successfully reaching the new global audience: "Consumers have long awaited Chipotle's arrival here in the Middle East and the feedback we've received so far has confirmed that we're delivering the same delicious culinary experience that guests have had in their U.S. locations."

Chipotle launched the Farmesa spinoff restaurant in early 2023, but its future growth aspirations are clearly far from over. Looking forward, Chipotle has announced plans to continue its partnership with Alshaya Group to open three more new restaurants by the end of the year — including one in Dubai, Chipotle's first in the United Arab Emirates. The Middle East expansion has been a long time in the making. Chipotle signed the franchising agreement in July 2023, marking the first development agreement in company history. In fiscal Q4 2023, Chipotle opened 121 restaurants, the highest number in company history. Also during the eventful Q4, revenue increased by 15.4% to a whopping $2.5 billion, riding off the momentum of the 14.3% average full-year increase (and to top it all off, the chain tested a robot employee).