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Chain Restaurants: How They Got Their Starts

Chipotle Mexican Grill

Original Location: Denver, Co.

Fun Facts: After a year of planning, during which Steve Ells arranged an $80,000 loan and persuaded his father to invest an additional $85,000, the then 27-year-old Ells returned to the Denver area, where he had lived during his junior/senior high years, to open the first Chipotle Mexican Grill. By 1997, the total number of restaurants was up to 14. In 1999, McDonald's purchased majority control of the company and by 2003, the store count had reached 300. Today, there are more than 1,000.

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

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