Chipotle, once the darling of the fast-casual restaurant category, has seen rough times. That included an abandoned expansion into the Southeast Asian cuisine category, with its ShopHouse brand. ShopHouse didn’t perform the way Chipotle wanted it to, and the burrito-master closed the chain. Now BibiBop Asian Grill — a concept not unlike ShopHouse — is taking over the leases on a whole bunch of shutdown ShopHouse storefronts.
BibiBop believes it can do better than Chipotle did in the space — and it takes advantage of the research Chipotle put in to figure out where its Asian chains would be most profitably situated. (Succesful franchise chains like Chipotle do serious and costly geo-targeting research before selecting locations for individual stores.) BibiBop, which currently operates 12 locations in Ohio, will expand into the Chicago area, Maryland, Los Angeles and Washington, DC — according to a release by the company. BibiBop can expand with an added boost of confidence in its maneuvers since it inherits not only the ShopHouse locations but also the geo-targeting that went into choosing them. Founder Charley Shin probably didn’t need the help though — his Charleys Philly Steaks is in hundreds of locations.