WRITTEN BY AUTUMN CLOUDEN
The Denver-based fast casual restaurant Chipotle Mexican Grill might be thinking about adding burgers to the company’s franchise.
The company recently filed a trademark application for the name “Better Burgers,” according to the U.S Patent and Trademark Office’s website.
Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold confirmed the application in an interview as reported first by Bloomberg News.
“It’s a growth seed idea we are exploring,” Arnold said in the interview.
The fast food chain is known for burritos, tacos and committed to serving customers food with integrity. Arnold notes the company has focused on other food options by opening other restaurants.
“We have two non-chipotle growth seeds open now — ShopHouse and Pizzeria Locale — and have noted before that the Chipotle model can be applied to a variety of foods,” Arnold said in a statement.
The company launched Pizzeria Locale in a partnership with the founders of Frasca in Colorado in 2013. The pizzeria expanded stores to Ohio and Missouri. ShopHouse — a Southeast Asian restaurant selling traditional cuisine — launched in 2011 in Washington D.C. and has sicne opened additional locations in D.C. and California.
The decision to join the burger business seems strategic for the chain in the wake of last year’s string of E. Coli outbreaks from 11 states including New York. About 55 people were infected and 21 hospitalized, according to officials.
Under investigation by The Center of Disease Control, Chipotle briefly closed its restaurants for inspection.
Opening a burger chain would be an opportunity to recover from drop in sales and customers due to the virus scare. The move would put Chipotle up against current leading restaurants such as Shake Shack and Five Guys Burgers & Fries.