Chipotle Mexican Grill will move its headquarters from Denver to Newport Beach this year, the restaurant chain announced Wednesday.
The announcement comes about three months after Chipotle announced it had selected Brian Niccol, the former head of Irvine-based Taco Bell, as its chief executive. Chipotle has weathered outbreaks of food-borne illnesses in recent years.
"In order to align the structure around our strategic priorities, we are transforming our culture and building world-class teams to revitalize the brand and enable our long-term success," Niccol said in a statement Wednesday.
"We'll always be proud of our Denver roots, where we opened our first restaurant 25 years ago," he added.
Chipotle's transition from its Denver and New York City offices will take place over the next six months.
The company will bring most of its corporate functions to Newport, including operations, business development, marketing, communications, finance, supply chain, food safety, technology and human resources. Support functions will be consolidated at an existing office in Columbus, Ohio.
The company will close its Denver and New York offices after the transition.
"The consolidation of offices and the move to California will help us drive sustainable growth while continuing to position us well in the competition for top talent," Niccol said.
A Newport Beach spokeswoman said the city found out about the planned move Wednesday and didn't know where in town the headquarters would set up shop.
Steve Rosansky, head of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, said he's looking forward to working with Chipotle, which has about 2,400 restaurants.
"I think it's great that we can have a national brand like Chipotle here in Newport Beach," Rosansky said.
The move will affect about 400 employees in Denver and New York, with some being offered relocation and retention packages. The company's roughly 70,000 restaurant and field operations employees are not part of the reorganization.
Chipotle is known for its burritos, burrito bowls, tacos and salads, which are assembled to order in front of customers.