Are we ready for a Chipotle burger chain?
Chipotle is known its really delicious burritos, burrito bowls, tacos, quesadillas and the best tortilla chips known to humankind. It’s also known for its recent E. coli outbreaks across the nation, but according to NPR, the restaurants seem to be E. coli-free. But now burgers are being added to the equation and we don’t know what to think anymore.
Chipotle has officially announced the company is working towards opening a burger chain. On March 11, the Mexican grill applied for a trademark for the name “Better Burger,” which will be part of its business diversification move to open burger joints.
“It’s a growth seed idea we are exploring,” Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold told Bloomberg. “We have two non-Chipotle growth seeds open now — ShopHouse and Pizzeria Locale – and have noted before that the Chipotle model could be applied to a wide variety of foods.”
ShopHouse is a Chipotle for Southeast Asian food, and Pizzeria Locale is a restaurant that uses super hot gas ovens to cook customized pizzas in under two minutes.
Several chains already exist that offer a “better burger.” They’re more upscale than what you’d typically expect from a fast food restaurant like McDonald’s, but the service is faster and the food is cheaper than the average sit-down joint. You know, like Shake Shack and Five Guys.
But seriously, why the move to burgers?
It looks like the chain has been struggling to recover from an E.coli outbreak and other health safety issues that hurt business last year. The outbreak forced Chipotle to temporarily close several locations and implement new safety standards and food-handling procedures. Everything is back to normal now though — as of February 1, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention ended its investigation with Chipotle.
But sales still sank.
“In February, Chipotle, based in Denver, reported its worst quarterly performance as a publicly traded company,” according to USA Today. “Its fourth-quarter net income fell 44% year-over-year to $67.9 million. And same-store sales were down 14.6%.”
Okay, so it makes sense why Chipotle needs to change things around a bit, but that doesn’t mean we’ll automatically be embracing the “better burger.” Burgers must prove themselves before they earn the “better” title. But we’ll consider giving it a shot.