Chipotle's burger chain, Tasty Made, always seemed fated for an early demise. After setting up shop in Lancaster, Ohio in 2016, ho-hum reviews followed, and customers were not endeared to the restaurant's steep price points. Following several changes that saw the company heed the warnings and bring in much-lauded chef Richard Blais to right the ship, Tasty Made's journey has finally ended: Chipotle closed down its only Tasty Made outpost on Wednesday.
In a statement to the the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette, Chipotle Spokesman Chris Arnold explained why Tasty Made didn't work out:
"While we liked the concept and the delicious food at Tasty Made, the economics were not what we wanted them to be in Lancaster, Ohio... so we have decided to close that restaurant."
Ironically, Lancaster was touted as the ideal place to set up shop when Tasty Made was getting started. At the time, Chipotle exec Dave Chrisman said in a press release: “Lancaster is the ideal market for this, because the people here really appreciate an excellent burger served at a reasonable price."
Chrisman also added that he, an Ohio native, was psyched to spread the burger love to a receptive audience: "I ought to know, because I grew up just miles from here. And the warm welcome from our community has been great. They are very excited that the first Tasty Made is in their town.”
Except customers never exactly celebrated Tasty Made's food, which consisted of a bare-bones menu of burgers, fries and shakes, reminiscent of In-N-Out and Shake Shack. Originally established with the mission of serving "ethically raised beef," Tasty Made never found a big enough foothold in the fast-casual burger market, and often garnered criticism for serving expensive food.
Chipotle changed its strategy later on, serving traditionally-sourced beef that wasn't as expensive, although the affordable menu still didn't accrue enough traction to satisfy its parent company.
The move comes as Chipotle enters a new era with CEO Brian Nicol, who succeeded founder Steve Ells after the company struggled to claw its way back from a torrent of food-borne illness outbreaks that marred its reputation.
Suffice it to say that the company will probably stick to burritos in the future.