Popular Mexican food chain Chipotle to open branches in Dubai and Kuwait

The Colorado-founded restaurant is expected to launch next year

Chipotle and Alshaya Group have partnered to bring the restaurant, which serves Mexican food, to the region. AFP
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Chipotle is coming to the UAE.

The popular American chain, known for its Mexican fare, will open branches in Dubai and Kuwait next year after signing a partnership with Alshaya Group to expand in the region.

Chipotle is known for the use of fresh ingredients, and its menu only consists of five items: burritos, bowls, tacos, quesadillas and salads.

Each can be built with protein choices such as chicken, steak, tofu-based “sofritas” or vegetarian, topped with guacamole or queso (cheese).

Other optional toppings offered free of charge include: rice, beans, four types of salsa, sour cream, cheese, and lettuce, allowing for customisable meals.

UAE expansion marks first for Chipotle

Thus far, Chipotle has been the sole owner and operator of all its outlets, including more than 3,000 in the US and about 50 international outposts.

The partnership with Alshaya is the first time Chipotle has enlisted a local franchise retail operator.

“Leveraging Alshaya’s market expertise will enable us to gain access to these vibrant economies,” said Chipotle chairman and chief executive Brian Niccol. “We are excited to offer guests in the Middle East our responsibly sourced, classically cooked real food.”

Niccol also told CNBC that if the UAE and Kuwait locations are well received, the company will look to add more Chipotle outposts in the region.

Mohammed Alshaya, executive chairman of Alshaya Group, said: “In announcing this exclusive partnership across the Middle East, we are proud to be Chipotle's first and only franchise partner, as we continue to enhance our portfolio of world-leading brands.” The Alshaya Group has also partnered Starbucks, Shake Shack, Victoria’s Secret and Texas Roadhouse in the Middle East and Europe.

Updated: July 19, 2023, 5:58 AM