Chipotle Launches New Healthy Bowls Concept


Chipotle’s new restaurant concept trades burritos for bowls.

What’s happening: The Mexican-inspired quick-service chain is set to open a healthy concept called Farmesa in Santa Monica’s Kitchen United Mix food hall.

Its meals will be entirely bowl-based, containing proteins, greens, grains, and vegetables while ranging from $12 to $17 in price.

Why it matters: Reporting Q4 earnings last week, Chipotle underperformed, citing fewer transactions as consumers ate out less. Of note, it’s the second consecutive quarter of declining transactions.

Banking on bowls for a boost, Chipotle joins a growing list of health fast-casual competitors attempting to find the right mix.

  • Hampered by weak sales and slow unit growth, Canadian healthy bowl restaurant Freshii sold its 343 units for $54.5M last December.
  • CAVA, a Mediterranean-inspired chain with 250 locations, recently filed to go public.
  • DIG, a veg-centric chain that sources produce from its own 20-acre organic farm, is entering new markets, starting with DC.
  • Wellness-focused chain Crisp & Green has 250+ locations open or in development across 25 states.

Meanwhile, salad chain Sweetgreen is combatting weakened demand through an online subscription service, Sweetlane drive-thrus in the suburbs, and cost-cutting, salad-making robots.

Looking ahead: While $17 bowls present an accessibility problem, consumers have signaled their desire for fresh, healthy food even in the face of inflation. Next up, from multi-channel meal service Everytable to food-as-medicine brand Season Health, expect to see more companies working to replace traditional fast food.

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