Chipotle Is Hiring a "Top Chef" Winner to Boost Its Burger Concept

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In this Market Foolery podcast segment, host Chris Hill and Motley Fool Asset Management's Bill Barker discuss the news that Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) has brought celebrity chef Richard Blais in to give some sparkle to Tasty Made's extremely limited menu. Now, it's a bit premature to call Tasty Made a chain, since there's only one in existence -- which might explain why Chris thinks this is not where Chipotle management ought to be focused just now.

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A full transcript follows the video.

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This video was recorded on Sept. 27, 2017.

Bill Barker: Chipotle is, according to CNBC, which we found this on --

Chris Hill: We trust them.

Barker: They're hiring Richard Blais. Friend of yours?

Hill: Richard Blais, not a friend of mine, but someone I've watched on the show Top Chef. I've seen him before.

Barker: He's been hired to spiff up its burger concept. For those who didn't know, Chipotle has a concept. They don't actually have a burger establishment, but they have a name --

Hill: No, they --

Barker: Do they?

Hill: I think they have a couple of locations.

Barker: Oh, do they?

Hill: Yeah. And by a couple, I mean a couple. So you shared this news, and as much as I like Richard Blais, at least the reality-television version of him -- I rooted for him on Top Chef because he seemed like a decent guy and a good chef and talented and all that sort of thing -- as a Chipotle shareholder, this is yet another hair-ripping moment. If they're focused on the couple of burger locations that they have and not on the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of namesake Chipotle locations that they have, then they're just wasting everyone's time.

Barker: So they have one location, according to this article. This is Tasty Made. For those who are traveling through Lancaster, Ohio, or live there, or live nearby, they can go there and see what's going on. It's a pretty inventive concept. They've got burgers, fries, and shakes.

Hill: Wow. All three?

Barker: All three.

Hill: That's amazing. That's amazing!

Barker: The triple crown.

Hill: That's amazing, for a company that somehow appears to be the only restaurant in America that can't pull off breakfast before creating lunch and dinner. Actually, one of our listeners in Ohio went to that location when it opened up. I remember, there were lines out the door, but the actual burger itself was actually pretty uninspiring, according to this one listener. So that speaks to why they're bringing in a celebrity chef, to help spiff it up. But again, this is not even one-tenth of 1% of their overall business. So you know what? Get Richard Blais in there to maybe work on the namesake menu. Or someone else.

Barker: You're a little bitter about Chipotle, aren't you?

Hill: I just ... yeah. It's time for Steve Ells to go.

Barker: Is it being a shareholder of it?

Hill: That's a big part of it, yeah. I mean, I'm certainly frustrated at other companies and other company management that I don't have any sort of financial stake in. But yeah, being a shareholder of Chipotle and watching the last two years play out the way they have, it's like, it's fine -- people have heard me vent about this before. [laughs] I could go for another 20 minutes, and I'm not going to do that. But again, good luck on the Tasty Made. Maybe if that's a hit, start rolling those out, start expanding those. Maybe that can succeed where ShopHouse didn't.

Barker: No, it was disappointing, what happened with every concept other than the original one. And the original one hasn't exactly been firing on all cylinders, either.

Hill: Do you know why ShopHouse didn't succeed?

Barker: I do not know.

Hill: Because no one likes Chinese food.

Barker: Ah.

Hill: Oh, no, wait, that's not true. Everyone loves Chinese food. They just couldn't manage to pull it off.

Bill Barker has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Chris Hill owns shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Chipotle Mexican Grill. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.