Love lost? After 25 years in Denver, Chipotle — the popular Colorado-based burrito chain — will relocate its headquarters to California.

Chipotle is on the move. The corporation announced in a press release on May 23 that over the next six months it will relocate its headquarters — currently in downtown Denver — to Newport Beach, California.

Its New York office will also close, with all office functions for both the Denver and New York locations being consolidated by the company’s “existing office in Columbus, Ohio, or moved to the new headquarters in Newport Beach.”

The Newport Beach office will handle most corporate operations (like marketing, food safety, and human resources), while Columbus will be the center for the company’s support functions.

“We have a tremendous opportunity at Chipotle to shape the future of our organization and drive growth through our new strategy,” Brian Niccol, Chipotle’s CEO said in the press release. “In order to align the structure around our strategic priorities, we are transforming our culture and building world-class teams to revitalize the brand and enable our long-term success.”

And apparently, Chipotle believes those “world-class teams” would be better assembled elsewhere:

“We’ll always be proud of our Denver roots where we opened our first restaurant 25 years ago,” Niccol continued. “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.” 

Approximately 400 corporate employees in Denver and New York will be affected by the move. Some will be offered relocation or retention packages.

Chipotle has had its share of drama in the last few years. In 2015, an E. coli outbreak tied to the chain spread to at least 14 states and affected 60 people. Then, last summer, a Chipotle employee in Virginia was responsible for a norovirus outbreak. The company has been scrambling to recover its reputation from these public relations nightmares, rolling out a loyalty program and even unveiling its own queso recipe (which was poorly received). But even with all the bad PR, the chain restaurants seem as busy as ever, with a consistent line out the door.

Founded in Denver in 1993, Chipotle now has over 2,400 restaurants. Its original flagship location at 1644 East Evans Avenue, near the University of Denver, is a bit of a mecca for burrito lovers. The corporate office is located at 1401 Wynkoop St., in downtown Denver.

At this time, none of the actual restaurant locations will be impacted by the relocation plans.

What do you think of Chipotle pulling their headquarters out of Denver? Do you think Chipotle is still struggling? Will you or someone you know be affected by the relocation? Let’s get the conversation started in the comments below!

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