Correlation of Noodles and Chipotle Locations: A Coincidence? We Think Not. Posted on January 11th, 2010 by

Have you ever noticed that where there is a Noodles restaurant, there is almost always a Chipotle restaurant close by? Is this a coincidence, or a planned tactic for these two restaurant chains in Minnesota? Students Aubrey Austin and Amy Gosewisch were very intrigued by this question and wanted to explore it using GIS.

Chipotle and Noodles restaurants in Minnesota

Chipotle and Noodles restaurants in Minnesota

The students concluded that there is most definitely a relationship between the two restaurant chains, though they are not owned by the same company as far as can be discovered. There are 24 Noodles restaurants and 47 Chipotle restaurants currently in Minnesota, and one can see from the maps that they tend to locate near each other. In almost every case of a Noodles restaurant, there is a Chipotle nearby. But it is possible to have a Chipotle restaurant without a Noodles in its immediate neighborhood.

Interestingly, this reflects (or influences?) the habits of students in the GIS class: of the students who frequent these restaurants, most students frequent both, while some students frequent only Chipotle. No student, however, goes to Noodles but not to Chipotle.

In Minnesota, Noodles and Chipotle restaurants are found in the Twin Cities metro area, Rochester, Mankato, and St. Cloud–but not Duluth.

An inset map of Chipotle and Noodles restaurants in Minnesota.

An inset map of Chipotle and Noodles restaurants in Minnesota.



  1. Chris Duhaime says:

    This is interesting… while the answer seems simple, such as the correlation between McDonalds and Wendy’s, those two restaurants serve similar foods, Noodles and Chipotle don’t serve the same foods.

    Also, I seem to be the exception, but I don’t eat at Chipotle, and only eat at Noodles.

    Thanks for the fun information. 🙂

  2. interesting says:

    Please provide larger map – it’s hard to see any pattern from the tiny graphic. Thanks!

  3. Casey says:

    This blog entry made it onto Directions web feed, congratulations!
    In terms of this analysis I agree with Chris Duhaime, are there other factors that may influence the locations of these stores? What was the distance threshold utilized? The Noodle Shop is new in my town, but they chose a central location — not far from Chipotle, but also not far from some Thai noodle restaurants. Is the co-occurrence more related to good markets, college towns, D.I.N.K. areas?

  4. Randall Stuckey says:

    Interesting — good work. I’ve notice before what you found out and always thought they were owned by the same company. How about Chipotle and Cold Stone Ice Cream? They seem to be paired quite frequently and balances hot and spicy with cold and smooth. Do they share ownership?

  5. Mike says:

    This is sort of a late response, but Chipotle and Noodles use the same Real Estate developer in Minnesota so when the Real Estate developer builds space, or trys to obtain space for one they also try to for the other.