Beleaguered chain Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. will shut down all 15 of its ShopHouse Asian Kitchen restaurants next week. The fast-casual company plans to sell the leases for each location, according to Nation’s Restaurant News. The ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen restaurants in Washington, DC, Maryland, Illinois, and California will cease operations on March 17, Chipotle spokesperson Chris Arnold confirmed.
“We now have a deal in place to sell the ShopHouse leases and believe that is the right decision at this time,” Arnold told Eater in an email. Once the restaurants close, the company will finalize the transition of the properties to another company. Chipotle made plans last fall to pursue “strategic alternatives” to the brand; late last year the chain announced during an earnings call with investors that it would cease expansion of its Asian Kitchen concept. ShopHouse first opened in 2011 and served customizable rice, noodle, and salad bowls with curry, tamarind, peanut, and chili sauces and assorted toppings. Last summer it inexplicably added burritos to the mix.
Chipotle’s move to close down the ShopHouse chain comes as the company works to bounce back from a massive food safety scandal and a decline in sales. CEO Steve Ells’ company’s stock currently sits just above $400, still down from its five-year high of $749.12, reached in August of 2015.
Arnold said ShopHouse employees would be offered employment at Chipotle and would be paid for an additional week after the restaurants close to allow for the transition into new positions. Chipotle is hanging on to its two other spinoffs: Tasty Made, a fast-casual burger concept that launched in October 2016, and Pizzeria Locale, an assembly-line pizza concept.