Restaurants

Chipotle closing all 15 ShopHouse Asian noodle restaurants

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Chipotle is making headlines yet again but this time it's not about the burritos and tacos taking the fall-- the company’s Southeast-Asian-inspired brand is closing down for good. 

The Denver-based company has decided to close all 15 locations of its ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen chain by March 17, according to Nation’s Restaurant News.

Chipotle opened the first ShopHouse in 2011, eventually growing the Asian brand to 15 locations with stores in California, Illinois, Marlyand, and Washington, D.C. The chain offers food inspired by the cultures of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore-- like noodles, rice, a variety of meats with curries and other sauces-- in a Chipotle counter service format. 

In its most recent annual earnings report, Chipotle said ShopHouse was unable to generate enough sales for future investment.

Company spokesman Chris Arnold said Chipotle has already made a deal to sell the leases of the ShopHouse locations.

“We now have a deal in place to sell the ShopHouse leases and believe that is the right decision at this time,” Arnold told Nation’s Restaurant News.

Current ShopHouse employees won't be left out in the cold, howevever, as the chain says it will offer workers jobs at Chipotle Mexican Grill-- plus, they will be paid for an additional week after the restaurants' closing during the transition period. 

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The company’s decision to close ShopHouse is one of the latest efforts Chipotle is making to recover from sales setbacks, mostly due to the food-borne illness outbreak that occurred throughout several locations in 2015. The decision to scale back the Asian branded concept has been in the works for months but a formal decision was not made until last week. 

“As a result, we have decided not to invest further in developing or growing the ShopHouse brand and will pursue strategic alternatives,” Chipotle's founder and Co-CEO Steve Ells said back in October. 

In April, the company will release its first television advertisement since 2012. 

Chipotle also operates two other restaurant brands: Pizzeria Locale with seven locations and Tasty Made, a burger joint with one store in Ohio.