NEW YORK (AP) — 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.
The opening of the burger concept comes as Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. fights to recover from an E. coli outbreak and norovirus cases that sent sales plunging at its namesake chain. After filing a trademark application for “Better Burger” earlier this year, Chipotle had noted that it previously said the “Chipotle model” could be applied to a wide variety of foods.
Already, the company has an Asian food concept called ShopHouse and a pizza concept called Pizzeria Locale. If its burger concept were to expand, it would pose a bigger threat to McDonald’s Corp., which previously owned a stake in the Denver-based company.
Before its recent setback from the food scares, Chipotle had found enormous success in positioning itself as an alternative to traditional fast-food chains. Its success has also spawned numerous other “fast-casual” concepts that tout better ingredients, or a format where people can walk down a line and pick the ingredients that go into their order.
McDonald’s has also been rolling out a “Create Your Taste” program in select restaurants that lets customers build their own burgers. The company has not said how widely it plans to expand that option.
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