Chipotle’s Mexican Grille, once the darling of the restaurant scene, can now do no right. The chain has struggled with a loss of customers after repeated norovirus outbreaks, and now it has emerged that their attempt to expand into making burgers failed:
Chipotle is calling it quits on burgers after shutting down it’s one and only Tasty Made restaurant.
Tasty Made was first opened on Oct. 27, 2016 in Lancaster, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. The fast-casual concept restaurant had a minimal menu similar to popular burger joints like In-Out-Burger, Five Guys and Shake Shack. The menu included burgers, fries and shakes.
Chipotle closed the concept restaurant on Feb. 28 and cited economics as the deciding factor to not move forward with the possible franchise, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
“While we liked the concept and the delicious food at Tasty Made, the economics were not what we wanted them to be in Lancaster, Ohio, so we have decided to close that restaurant,” said Chris Arnold, Chipotle’s spokesman.
Tasty Made had plans to open a second location in Pickerington, Ohio. Instead, that location was made into Chipotle’s first drive-through.
The move to conventional beef was out of necessity because the price for a cheeseburger with “responsibly raised” beef was $6.10. Conventional beef burgers were lowered to $4.10. Polling of customers revealed that 90% were unaware and/or didn’t care about buying “responsibly raised” meat.
Restaurant reviews from customers weren’t too strong either initially.
I am expecting these guys are going to picked up by private equity soonish (within the next five years), much like the struggling chain Buffalo Wild Wings recently was. The chain’s sales are still in the toilet, and the chain’s public image remains poor after the norovirus outbreaks. The brand clearly needs a rethink/overhaul and I don’t believe the current management are the ones to do it.