Chipotle is parting ways with its long-time home of Denver, and it will relocate its headquarters to Orange County.
The fast-casual Mexican-style chain, which opened its first restaurant in Denver in 1993, is slated to move its headquarters to Newport Beach, where its new CEO, Brian Niccol, lives. There are currently over 2,400 Chipotle locations around the world.
“We’ll always be proud of our Denver roots where we opened our first restaurant 25 years ago. The consolidation of offices and the move to California will help us drive sustainable growth while continuing to position us well in the competition for top talent,” said Niccol in a press release.
Chipotle Mexican Grill will be among several other fast-food chains headquartered in Orange County, including Taco Bell, In-N-Out, Del Taco and Wienerschnitzel.
Over the next six months, both the Denver and New York offices will close, affecting the company’s over 400 employees. The company said some employees were offered retention and relocation packages, but it’s not clear how many.
Soon, functions will be divided between the new offices in Newport Beach and an office Columbus, Ohio, where the workforce is expected to grow. Chief Financial Officer Jack Hartung described the Columbus office as “a world class shared services center with increased productivity and quality services.”
Niccol previously served as CEO of Irvine-based Taco Bell. He became Chipotle’s CEO this March after the original founder and CEO, Steve Ells, stepped down following a major food safety crisis, among other challenges.
In 2015, an E. coli outbreak infected 55 customers from 11 different states, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In the aftermath, company stock plummeted by 30 percent.
Since, the company has struggled to regain its success—even after a move to shut down all of its locations temporarily in 2016 for a four-hour food safety meeting.
But then, in 2017, a norovirus outbreak at a Virginia location and a rodent sighting at a Dallas location caused those restaurants to close temporarily. That same year, a cybersecurity attack affected customers nationwide when hackers used malware to steal credit card information over the span of almost one month.