Chipotle’s Burger Chain Goes Belly Up

Less than a year and a half into a new burger restaurant concept, Chipotle is calling it quits on flipping burgers. ( Tasty Made )

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.

After being opened less than two weeks Chipotle was reporting strong sales from the burger restaurant in 2016, although they didn’t share actual numbers.

“The food has been great, and the feedback we’ve received thus far has been largely positive,” Arnold said at the time to Bloomberg.

When Tasty Made was originally proposed it had intended to source beef from cattle that had been raised without antibiotics or added hormones. Less than two months after opening the restaurant was changed to “conventional” beef a contrasting move from Chipotle’s slogan of “food with integrity” and menu that features non-hormone, non-antibiotic and non-GMO items.

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.

On Sept. 26, 2017, Chipotle brought on a new chef to help right the ship at Tasty Made. Richard Blais, winner of Bravo's Top Chef All-Stars show in 2011, was hoped to bring a fresh set of eyes to the burger concept less than a year into its existence. However, it doesn’t look like the splashy hire was enough to bring people into the burger joint.

“The decision to close is in no way a reflection on Richard or his capabilities as a chef and restaurateur, and we would certainly consider working with him again if there was a good opportunity to do so,” Arnold said.

The website for Tasty Made, tastymade.com, now goes directly to the Chipotle homepage. Any social media presence for Tasty Made has also been removed.

The turmoil at Chipotle has not been limited to its concept restaurant. Chipotle has gone through a number of food safety issues in the past few years, seeing its stock and leadership change during that time.

 
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