It’s official. Chipotle’s long-awaited new burger and fries concept, Tasty Made, is opening in Lancaster, Ohio, tomorrow. According to a press release, Tasty Made will serve only burgers, fries, and shakes "made with high-quality ingredients, but served at prices that compete directly with typical fast food chains."
So what, exactly is on the menu? Burgers, mainly, which will be grilled-to-order and made from beef raised without antibiotics or added hormones. Hand-cut fries and shakes (vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and a buckeye version) will round out the menu.
Development of the new concept was overseen by Chipotle CEO Steve Ells and two long-time Chipotle employees: Dave Chrisman and Nate Appleton (a CIA grad and James Beard Award winner). According to the release, orders at Tasty Made will be prepared faster than at other chains (i.e. less than 15 minutes per burger).
"Each order is sent to an advanced queuing system that uses heads-up visual cues so that the team can cook and serve the food very quickly," said Ells in the release. "This is in stark contrast to typical fast food burger chains where frozen burger patties are usually cooked ahead of time and held until later, at which time they are assembled."
Unlike its parent company, Tasty Made will apparently be more fast-food than fast-casual. It even comes complete with a drive-thru:
Chipotle has been criticized for its foray into burgers, which Eater first reported on back in July. Restaurant analysts argue that trademarking a new concept (albeit one in the already-crowded burger market) is a "distraction at best." Instead, say critics, Chipotle should focus on fixing its core business, which has suffered in the wake of last year’s food safety scandal.
Ells has apparently heeded some of that advice. Just yesterday, the CEO announced that the company would no longer be investing in growing its Asian concept, ShopHouse. The future looks bleak for the D.C.-based concept, with a spokesperson for the company telling Eater DC that the chain is now "exploring alternatives for those restaurants."
Ells did express confidence that Chipotle’s "approach to food, people, and unit economics," can prove profitable "with the right cuisine." Pizza and burgers, for instance, both have "broad customer appeal" and require relatively small capital investment.
At least one chain already in the burger space isn’t too pleased with Chipotle’s latest trick. The Boston-based Tasty Burger has taken issue with Tasty Made’s logo and name, which bears a striking similarity to its own.