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Earlier this year, Chipotle founder and co-CEO Steve Ells called the burrito chain’s fast-food competition “a joke” (see “Fallen Arches: Can McDonald’s get its mojo back?”). Ells has earned the bragging rights. In the past three years, Chipotle has experienced 20.5% annual sales growth, and its stock has soared by 99%. This year he and co-CEO Monty Moran combated rising beef, avocado, and dairy costs in the second quarter by increasing menu prices by 6.5%. Higher prices didn’t dissuade consumers. In fact, same-store sales grew 19.8% in the third quarter, and overall sales are up by 23% for the latest 12 months (though the company has warned of slowing sales growth next year). Analysts attribute Chipotle’s pricing power to its quality food and service and its affluent customer base. —Claire Zillman