Chipotle will open its first Canadian restaurant since 2018 as it accelerates international expansion – CNBC

A chicken burrito, guacamole, bag of tortilla chips, and a drink at a Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. restaurant in El Segundo, California.

Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Chipotle Mexican Grill said Tuesday it will open a new restaurant in Canada for the first time since 2018 as it accelerates its Canadian expansion over the next 12 months.

The new restaurant will open March 30. The burrito chain said it will add eight new locations in Canada, including one with a drive-thru “Chipotlane” for digital-order pickups. Chipotle operates 23 Canadian restaurants, most of which are concentrated in and around Vancouver and Toronto.

“We will be experimenting with different location formats and restaurant designs throughout the country to gauge consumer preferences in the various markets,” CFO Jack Hartung said in a statement.

Chipotle has taken longer than its peers to build its international presence as it focused on reviving U.S. sales after a series of foodborne illness outbreaks several years ago battered its business. Chipotle implemented new safety measures and added menu items to lure customers back. It has also built several locations with Chipotlanes.

The company has more than 2,750 locations globally, most of which are in the U.S.

Shares of Chipotle are up more than 5% this year, giving it a market value of more than $41 billion. The stock gained 1.6% on Tuesday.