NewsNet5: Chipotle is branching out from burritos and plans to open its first burger restaurant. A spokesman for Chipotle, Chris Arnold, says in an email the company’s first Tasty Made burger restaurant will open in this fall in Lancaster, Ohio. He did not immediately provide other details. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. has also already opened an Asian food concept called ShopHouse and a pizza concept called Pizzeria Locale. The opening of the burger concept comes as Chipotle fights to recover from an E. coli outbreak and norovirus cases that sent sales plunging at its namesake chain.
Short article with very little details, yet there are a lot of ways to view this. Let’s start with the obvious. If it’s under the Chipotle umbrella, it’s probably going to kick ass. The burgers are gonna be delicious. Nobody’s going to dispute that. But burgers are an entirely different animal, no pun intended, than burritos. The time it takes to cook and assemble a burger is significant in comparison to rolling a burrito. The lines at Chipotle are already a gigantic fucking problem. When they’re understaffed during the lunch rush, you’re waiting on line for no less than 20 minutes. It completely invalidates the purpose of fast-casual food. If the same people are going for burgers, you’ll be there all day.
So that proposes the question: what kind of place is this going to be? I would think they’re smart enough to not become fast food. They would get crushed by McDonald’s, and it’s just not in Chipotle’s playbook to sacrifice quality. But I can’t think of any super successful burger chain like Bobby’s Burger Palace, SmashBurger, etc. When wait times go up, customers leave. It’s basically impossible to be a burger joint somewhere in the middle between McDonald’s and a legitimate, quality sit down restaurant. Even places like Friday’s and Applebee’s get KILLED.
It’s a daunting task, but I’m sure Steve Ells and Chipotle have a plan in place. Didn’t have to look him up by the way, I just know things like that. No big deal, but kind of a big deal. I’ll go to bat for Chipotle for all they’ve done for me. I didn’t even flinch at E coli. Mexican food and E coli are like peanut butter and jelly. There’s a 36% chance of becoming deathly ill every single time you eat Mexican food. Anybody with a brain knows that. But count me in. If they’re gonna spend generously on high quality ingredients and somehow figure out a way to pump custom burgers out quickly, I’m in.