The Mexican restaurant chain Chipotle is preparing to open an Asian restaurant, which will apply the same concept of quality fast food to a different cuisine.
ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen will launch in Chipotle’s home country across the Atlantic, with the first restaurant set to open in several months in Washington DC.
The company told BigHospitality that it is still too early to say if the Asian concept will make its way to the UK.
“The focus is just on that one site in the United States for now, and as ShopHouse is still in its infancy at the current time we’re not sure about further expansion,” said restaurateur Jacob Sumner, who heads up Chipotle’s UK business.
Chipotle model expanded
ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen will be adapting the Chipotle model of fast food using fresh, sustainably produced raw ingredients, prepared using classic cooking methods.
Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle said: "I have always believed that the Chipotle model would work well with a variety of different cuisines. Chipotle's success is not necessarily about burritos and tacos, but rather about serving great, sustainably raised food that is delicious, affordable, and convenient."
"Anyone who has travelled throughout Southeast Asia can tell you that food there is served very fast - it's also full of flavour, nutritious, and affordable.
"This cuisine gives us a great opportunity to prove the idea that the Chipotle model can work with other cuisines."
ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen is scheduled to open in summer 2011 in Washington, DC.
The new concept is inspired by the traditional shophouses found throughout Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam. These are classical two or three-story buildings where families live upstairs and run restaurants or fresh markets on the ground level.
Its menu will apply the flavours of southeast Asia to food made with fresh, sustainably raised ingredients. It will include grilled and braised meats, fresh vegetables, herbs, spicy sauces and a variety of garnishes.
As with the Chipotle restaurants, customers will move along a service line and customise their meal. There are currently around 1,100 Chipotle restaurants in the US, with three new sites opening every week. The UK has one venue so far, which opened in May last year.