Chipotle is considering launching a new burger concept called “Better Burger,” going after Shake Shack’s share of the fast-casual market.
The company filed a trademark application this month for the “Better Burger” name, and a Chipotle representative confirmed to Bloomberg that “It’s a growth seed idea we are exploring.” Chipotle already owns two other chains, Pizzeria Locale and ShopHouse, an Asian rice bowl concept.
In the last year, the Mexican chain has been plagued by significant food safety issues across multiple states, which caused the company’s stock to tumble, and its executive compensation took a major hit.
A new fast food canvas, ostensibly, would give the company a chance to reestablish its healthful image. What’s more, falling beef prices, coupled with strong domestic demand, mean prime conditions for a possible entry into the burger industry.
“The category continues to grow, and the opportunity continues to be very big,” Darren Tristano, president of the industry research firm Technomic, told Bloomberg. “If you're Chipotle, you’re kind of looking at it saying, ‘Wow, look at Shake Shack — they went from one to such a large volume of sales.’”