DENVER — Chipotle is jumping into the burger business.
The struggling restaurant chain known for its burritos announced plans on Thursday to open a burger restaurant called Tasty Made this fall in Lancaster, Ohio.
Tasty Made will exclusively focus on burgers, fresh-cut French fries and milkshakes. Chipotle said the new restaurant will use high quality ingredients, such as beef from animals that are raised without the use of antibiotics or added hormones.
“We think we can appeal to peoples’ timeless love of burgers, but in a way that is consistent with our long-term vision,” Chipotle founder and co-CEO Steve Ells said in a statement.
Nate Appleman, an award-winning chef who worked in San Francisco and New York, helped develop the Tasty Made concept.
Chipotle’s foray into burgers come at a very difficult time for the company. The restaurant chain has suffered an exodus of customers as a result of an E. coli outbreak. Chipotle profits plunged 82 percent last quarter as the company resorted to pricey promotions aimed at luring customers back.
Rumors about Chipotle branching out from burritos swirled earlier this year when the company filed a trademark request for a restaurant chain called Better Burger. At the time, Chipotle described this concept as a “growth seed idea.”
Chipotle has two other similar concept chains it has invested in: Pizzeria Locale and ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen.
Wall Street is anxious for Chipotle to get back on track. The restaurant had been a huge winner for investors since it went public in 2006, but the food safety scare has sent the stock crashing to three-year lows.AlertMe