Future of DC-area ShopHouse Locations Unclear

WASHINGTON — Chipotle Mexican Grill will no longer invest in expanding its experiment with ShopHouse, build-your-own Asian fare restaurants, but it is unclear what will happen to the existing locations.

Chipotle opened its first ShopHouse location in Dupont Circle in 2011, and a second in Georgetown two years later. It has been slow to expand the concept, with four locations in D.C. and four in Maryland, and seven other locations in Illinois and California.

The business apparently hasn’t performed as expected.

Chipotle wrote down virtually all of the value of the ShopHouse chain in its latest quarter. It says the decision was based on an analysis of each of the restaurant’s past and present operating performance and projected future cash flows.

“The company has decided not to invest further in developing and growing the ShopHouse brand and will pursue strategic alternatives,” it said in a statement.

Chipotle did not say what those strategic alternatives would be, or if existing ShopHouse locations, including those in the D.C. area, would remain open.

Chipotle is experimenting with a pizza chain called Pizzeria Locale, which has seven locations currently. Later this year, it will open the first of what could become a burger chain, with Tasty Made burger restaurant in Lancaster, Ohio.

Sales at Chipotle Mexican Grill’s restaurants fell another 22 percent last quarter, and the company does not expect a rebound until next year as it continues to recover from customer cases of food-borne illnesses.

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