On Thursday, Chipotle swung open the doors to its new concept, "Tasty Made," in Lancaster, Ohio. It focuses exclusively on burgers, fresh-cut French fries and milkshakes, adopting Chipotle's long-held principle of keeping the menu super simple. Similar to Chipotle, the chain stresses meat and other food free of artificial ingredients. Interestingly, it includes a drive-thru.
Judging by visitors' Instagram photos (below), Tasty Made doesn't appear to be anything too game-changing. The menu looks ridiculously small, and the restaurant interior and exterior aren't exactly warm and inviting like a typical Shake Shack (SHAK) . But the "Tasty Sauce" sounds pretty intriguing.
Tasty Made's grand debut come after a brutal week for Chipotle.
The embattled burrito giant booked a charge of 29 cents a share during the third quarter to write down the value of its 15-store Asian fare concept ShopHouse. Chipotle opened its first ShopHouse in 2011, offering an upscale take on Asian-themed food that includes rice bowls and sandwiches. From the first restaurant in Washington, D.C., ShopHouse expanded to 14 other locations, including Los Angeles.
"After operating in three diverse markets, we have determined ShopHouse hasn't demonstrated an attractive unit economic model," said Chipotle founder and co-CEO Steve Ells on a Tuesday earnings call. Chipotle is "exploring strategic alternatives" for ShopHouse, Ells said, declining to commit to shuttering the concept entirely.
Meanwhile, despite free food giveaways, a new loyalty program and stepped-up marketing, Chipotle's latest quarter was tough to stomach.
Chipotle's third-quarter sales plunged 21.9%, falling well shy of Wall Street forecasts for a drop of 18.9%. Excluding one-time items, earnings came in at 56 cents a share, badly missing analyst expectations for earnings of $1.56 a share.
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