Shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) received a much-needed pick-me-up last Friday. The reason for the boost wasn't the universal need for a burrito pig-out following this stressful week of elections, but word that the company's foray into gourmet burgers is going well.
Chipotle shares rose 1.31% in Friday trading, but the restaurant chain remains a poisonous play for investors.
Chipotle opened its first Tasty Made burger restaurant on Oct. 27 in Lancaster, Ohio. The restaurant offers a limited menu consisting of burgers, fries, sodas, and milkshakes. In keeping with parent company Chipotle's ethos of ingredients better for both humans and the environment, Tasty Made burgers feature "responsibly raised beef" and non-GMO fixings.
Tasty Made isn't Chipotle's first attempt to move beyond its signature Tex-Mex menu. The company debuted ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen in 2011, which applies the Chipotle assembly-line model to noodles and rice. However, in October, Chipotle founder and CEO Steve Ells announced during an earnings call that the company "decided not to invest further in growing the ShopHouse brand." Analysts are speculating that this business could be sold or shut down, although the ultimate fate of the restaurant isn't known.
However, on Friday, Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold announced that sales at the new Tasty Made have been brisk. "Tasty Made is off to a good start," he said. "The food has been great, and the feedback we've received thus far has been largely positive."
Chipotle has devised this burger chain as its own business struggles to retain its once-loyal customers. In October 2015, a scandal involving food-borne illness E. coli decimated Chipotle's business and its stock. Chipotle was once the most popular restaurant in the U.S. However, worries about the safety of its ingredients kept customers and investors away.