American restaurant giant Chipotle Mexican Grill is pinning its hopes on Costa Coffee’s former UK boss to ignite its European business.
The chain has hired Jim Slater, who also worked for Bombay Sapphire Gin and Sunderland FC, as its managing director for Europe due to his “vast” background in building successful brands.
In his UK-based role, he will oversee the strategy, development and growth of Chipotle’s European business, which remains small in comparison to its offering in North America.
Slater most recently served as the managing director of Costa Coffee in the UK and Ireland, overseeing more than 2,200 stores and more than £770m in sales.
At Costa, he was instrumental in the efforts that resulted in Costa becoming larger in the UK than Starbucks, Nero, Pret a Manger and EAT combined.
“Jim not only believes in our commitment to change the way people think about and eat fast food, but he also celebrates our vision of building teams of top performers empowered to achieve high standards,” stated Steve Ells, Chipotle’s founder, chairman, and co-CEO. “We have great confidence in his abilities and expertise, and believe his leadership will help us enhance and grow our business in Europe.”
Chipotle opened with a single restaurant in 1993 and operates more than 2,000 restaurants in the US. However, it currently only runs 24 Chipotle restaurants outside its home market.
Slater said that based on the success of Chipotle in the US, the brand has tremendous opportunity in Europe. “Chipotle’s commitment to better food from ingredients raised and grown with respect for animals, farmers and the environment is consistent with how many Europeans eat and the brand is one that really resonates with customers here,” he said.