Considering the explosive success Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) has achieved over the past several years, it's no wonder investors were attracted to new entrants in the fast-casual restaurant business, such as Noodles & Company (NASDAQ:NDLS) and Potbelly (NASDAQ:PBPB), which were once considered strong candidates for becoming "the next Chipotle."

However, both Noodles and Potbelly have delivered lower-than-expected financial performance lately, while Chipotle keeps generating truly exceptional growth rates. Perhaps more important, the company still offers abundant room for growth in the years ahead.

The following slideshow contains some ideas for investors willing to look at Chipotle and its potential for gains over the long term. 

Andrés Cardenal has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.