Chipotle Chipotle

Chipotle to close up to 65 units

Closures are part of recovery plan, company says

Chipotle Mexican Grill said part of its recovery plan will involve the closure of 55 to 65 restaurants over the next 30 days, including shuttering about 5 locations of fast-casual pizza brand Pizzeria Locale, the company said late Wednesday during a special investor conference call.

The closures, along with the company’s restructuring and relocation from Denver to Southern California, will cost the company roughly $115 million to $135 million. Of that, $60 million to $70 million of those charges will hit the company during the second quarter. Other charges will likely spill over to 2019.

The five Pizzeria Locale units, in in Kansas City, Mo., and Cincinnati closed June 27. A Chipotle spokesperson said the brand will continue to focus on the two locations left in Denver area.

During a much-anticipated conference call, Chipotle’s newly minted CEO Brian Niccol laid out other details crucial to his turnaround plan. He reiterated the recovery plans he spoke of during the company’s first quarter conference call. He said the company is focused on improving digital platforms by adding pick-up shelves for mobile orders. He also promised menu innovation, but not without proper validation testing.

Marketing led by new CMO Chris Brandt will “lean on reminding customers why they fell in love with Chipotle,” Niccol added.

The traditionally tight-lipped company also recently offered a glimpse of some new menu items in test, including nachos, quesadillas folded like “flat burritos,” a grapefruit tequila cocktail and a Mexican chocolate shake.

Contact Nancy Luna at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @FastFoodMaven

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