Chipotle abandons Farmesa Fresh Eatery spinoff after ghost kitchen closes

Chipotle is launching Farmesa Fresh Eatery first at Kitchen United’s upcoming Santa Monica location.

Source: Chipotle Mexican Grill

Chipotle Mexican Grill is abandoning its Farmesa Fresh Eatery spinoff after partner Kitchen United closed its ghost kitchens.

A little over a year ago, Chipotle announced the opening of its first Farmesa location at Kitchen United’s Santa Monica location. The spinoff’s menu focused on customizable bowls. Its brand name is a portmanteau of “farm” and “mesa,” the Spanish word for table, in an attempt to communicate its farm-to-table approach.

But the Santa Monica ghost kitchen closed in February as its parent company struggled financially.

Curt Garner, Chipotle’s chief customer and technology officer, told CNBC on Wednesday that the company has no plans to open a freestanding version of Farmesa. However, the brand lives on in the company’s innovation lab for new menu items, he said.

Chipotle’s primary focus now is on its own brand, both in the U.S. and outside of it through its burgeoning international business, CEO Brian Niccol said Wednesday on the company’s earnings call.

“Obviously, if the opportunity presents itself where it would make sense for us to do something outside of the brand, so I would never want to say never, but it’s just not a focus for us right now,” he told analysts.

Instead, the company has been focusing on improving its restaurants’ efficiency and speed to boost sales. Chipotle’s first-quarter earnings and revenue topped Wall Street’s estimates on Wednesday.

In November, Kitchen United announced plans to close or sell all of its locations as it pivoted into software. Ghost kitchens, which are also known as cloud or dark kitchens, allow restaurants to prepare food solely for delivery. 

The format’s popularity soared during the pandemic as eateries looked for ways to make food delivery more profitable. But once customers started returning to dining in person and capital grew more expensive, many ghost kitchen startups like Kitchen United found themselves in trouble.

In March, SBE founder Sam Nazarian bought Kitchen United’s remaining locations and intellectual property for an undisclosed sum to create a new company, Everybody Eats.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2024/04/24/chipotle-abandons-farmesa-fresh-eatery-spinoff-after-ghost-kitchen-closes.html

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