Chipotle to open Tasty Made burger restaurant this fall

Chipotle to open first burger joint
Chipotle to open first burger joint

Chipotle Mexican Grill is thinking outside the tortilla: It's opening its first burger joint.

Ending months of speculation, the company said its first Tasty Made burger restaurant will open in this fall, in Lancaster, Ohio. The menu will focus on and feature only burgers, fresh-cut french fries and milkshakes.

"Early fast food burger restaurants generally had focused menus," CEO Steve Ells said in a statement. "We think there's great strength in that original fast food model and wanted to create a restaurant built around that."

The burrito chain hinted at a burger venture in March, when it filed a trademark application for "Better Burger."

"We have two non-Chipotle growth seeds open now ― ShopHouse and Pizzeria Locale ― and have noted before that the Chipotle model could be applied to a wide variety of foods," a spokesman from Chipotle told CNBC at the time.

The opening of the burger concept comes as Chipotle fights to recover from an E. coli outbreak and norovirus cases that sent sales plunging at its namesake chain. The burrito chain swung back to profitability in the second-quarter due to "modest" improvements in foot traffic, fueled by the company's Chiptopia loyalty program.

Chipotle faces steep competition in the fast-casual burger space from Shake Shack, Five Guys and Smash Burger.

Shares of the company were slightly higher in early afternoon trading.