* Looking for locations in France, Germany, more in London
* Sees thousands more restaurants in United States
* Stands by 2010 view for store openings, comparable sales
CHICAGO, Jan 12 Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc
(CMG.N) has an executive scouting locations in France and
Germany and could open thousands more of its restaurants in the
United States, executives said on Tuesday.
Chipotle's first international location in Toronto has
surpassed expectations, said the company's founder, chairman
and co-chief executive, Steve Ells, during a presentation at a
Cowen and Company conference on Tuesday.
Ells said the company, which has more than 900 locations,
plans to add two more restaurants in Toronto. Chipotle
previously announced plans to open a London location in April,
which will be its first restaurant in Europe. [ID:nN17549853]
Chief Development Officer Rex Jones is now focused
full-time on international development, Ells said. Jones has
started to look for sites in Germany and France, as well as
possible locations for more restaurants in London, Ells said.
Chipotle is also preparing for continued growth in the
United States, where it has made changes including a refreshed
decor and improvements in the ways it warms tortillas and
prepares its chips. The company also introduced new soft corn
taco shells in a number of markets, which it will introduce to
more locations, Ells said.
"We believe we can build thousands of restaurants
domestically," Co-CEO Monty Moran said.
During the presentation, the company once again said that
during 2010 it expects to open 120 to 130 new restaurants, sees
flat comparable restaurant sales given the economic climate,
and plans to repurchase $100 million worth of its shares.
(Reporting by Jessica Wohl, editing by Dave Zimmerman)