In 1995, Gretchen Selfridge almost turned down the opportunity to manage the second Chipotle in the country. Now, she runs around 850 of them.
As Chipotle’s restaurant support officer, Selfridge role is similar to that of a co-COO. She is responsible for half of the Chipotle’s across the country while another exec, Mike Duffy, manages the other half. Nearly 20 years ago while visiting on tables at the now-closed restaurant that she worked at in Aurora, Colo., one of her regular customers asked her if she wanted to join the new venture. She said no way. There was no chance a concept like Chipotle’s could survive, she thought.
“Back in 1990s, there wasn’t this category of restaurants. You had fast food and you had full service,” Selfridge said in an interview with Fortune. “I was working at a full-service restaurant. I didn’t want to go work at something like a Taco Bell. I sort of turned my nose down on the opportunity.”