Foodservice Equipment Reports

Chipotle Chooses Burgers And Pizza For Its Future

Chipotle Mexican Grill has axed the ShopHouse and flipped over to burgers.

The Denver chain cut the ribbon on Tasty Made, its new burger concept, in Lancaster, Ohio, on October 27. The burgers, fries and shakes concept merges the cooking ideas behind “better burger” chains with the model of pioneering QSRs.

Tasty Made executives say they plan to open a second store in Pickerington, Ohio, by January.

The concept offers a simple, customizable menu with fresh ingredients, which the chain touts as being served at a QSR price point and with QSR speed and convenience. “We bring Chipotle’s commitment to better-quality ingredients, a focused menu, fast service, and customized orders to Tasty Made,” says Steve Ells, founder, chairman, and co-CEO of Chipotle. “Each order is sent to an advanced queuing system that uses heads-up visual cues so that the team can cook and serve the food very quickly. This is in stark contrast to typical fast-food burger chains, where frozen burger patties are usually cooked ahead of time and held until later.”

Chipotle continues to fight its way back on the sales front after its food-safety issues and E.coli outbreak earlier this year. It just reported same-store sales fell nearly 22% in the third quarter. The Denver chain has announced it will cease expansion on its 15-unit Southeast Asian concept ShopHouse, instead focusing on Tasty Made and the pizza fast-casual concept, Pizzeria Locale; Ells says those two concepts have broader customer appeal.

The name of the fledgling burger brand is not without its own controversy. On the same day of Tasty Made’s grand opening, East Coast-based Tasty Burger filed a notice of opposition to all “Tasty Made” trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office; the six-unit chain had sent Chipotle a cease and desist letter in July, which had gone unanswered.

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