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Chipotle nixes new concepts for now after closing health food spinoff

Chipotle briefly opened a restaurant that focused on healthy foods that included proteins, greens, grains and vegetables.
Chipotle Late Opening
Posted at 10:40 AM, Apr 26, 2024

Over a year after launching a restaurant concept focused on health foods, Chipotle said it is refocusing on its main brand.

Earlier this year, Farmesa, Chipotle's new restaurant concept, closed after opening just one location in the Los Angeles area in 2023. Chipotle had touted the concept as futuristic as it primarily relied on kiosks and third-party delivery apps for ordering.

The restaurant focused on healthy foods that included proteins, greens, grains and vegetables.

"We believe there's an opportunity to serve premium, craveable food every day and we're eager to bring this new concept to life," Nate Lawton, vice president of new ventures at Chipotle, said at the time of the restaurant's launch.

Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol said it is not completely eliminating the possibility of a new concept in the future.

"Right now we are much more focused on just turning Chipotle into an iconic brand that I think it can be, not just in the U.S., but outside the U.S.," he told investors earlier this week. "Obviously, if the opportunity presents itself, where it would make sense for us to do something outside of the brand, so I never want to say never, but it's just not a focus area for us right now."

The restaurant's closure comes at a challenging time for California's fast-food operators. Earlier this year, the state implemented a $20 minimum wage for workers. In response, Chipotle said it has had to raise prices 6%-7% in the state to help offset the increased labor costs.