Most of the country is familiar with Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG), the fast-growing burrito roller that has taken the fast-casual scene by storm. There are now more than 1,500 locations of the chain that's famous for its quick-moving queues and "Food With Integrity" mantra. However, even the most diehard fan -- I'm talking to you, Mr. Carnitas Bowl with sour cream on the side -- doesn't know everything about the company.
Let's dive into a few obvious and not so obvious facts about the company.
1. Chipotle is not owned by McDonald's
It's true that Chipotle was once owned by McDonald's (NYSE:MCD). The burger giant had a majority stake in the Colorado-based company, just as it also once controlled Boston Market. However, McDonald's divested of Chipotle when it went public in 2006.
Then again, you probably knew that you didn't have to ask to supersize your chicken burrito. It's pretty big already.
2. Chipotle uses nearly 100,000 avocados per day
Guacamole may not seem like one of Chipotle's most popular ingredients. It's the one item on the assembly line that costs extra. However, there are apparently a lot of people willing to pay a premium for the mashed and spiced-up avocados. Chipotle goes through an average of 97,000 pounds of avocados in a single day.
Making the guacamole isn't easy. Chipotle goes through 70 avocados in making a single batch.
3. The menu is bigger than you think
Eyeing the Chipotle menu isn't exactly overwhelming. There aren't many items available. The real variations come in how you doll up your initial choice along the assembly line of toppings and fillings.
However, there are plenty of items that you can order that aren't on the menu. The most popular off-menu item is a quesadilla. Without flinching, a Chipotle employee will whip out a burrito tortilla, fill half of it with cheese and your protein of choice, fold it, and heat it up in a tortilla press. You can also order a kid's meal, which typically consists of a small cheese quesadilla and a side of rice.
If you're daring, you can even see if the employee actually knows how to make a quesarito. The fabled "secret menu" entree is a burrito wrapped in a cheese quesadilla.
4. It all started with melted ice cream
Chipotle founder Steve Ells didn't start his career by dreaming of building a better burrito.
He went to the Culinary Institute of America in New York and was working at the Stars restaurant in San Francisco when he discovered the burritos being rolled in the Mission district. That experience helped birth the Chipotle concept.
The first location opened in Denver, where the company continues to base its headquarters. The original Chipotle was a shuttered Dolly Madison Ice Cream store, bankrolled by an $85,000 loan from Ells' father. One could say the investment paid off.
5. Chipotle prices aren't always what you will pay
Chipotle came under fire last year when customers complained that some of their bills were being rounded up to the nearest quarter.
This is a practice Chipotle uses in some of its higher-traffic markets. It keeps the line moving faster when customers and cashiers don't have to do a lot of counting or fumbling for pennies. Chipotle countered that it would round up or down depending on the final amount. It claims that it ultimately broke even from the practice, but given the backlash of complaints, it vowed that it would only round down from now on.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill and McDonald's. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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.