Denver-based food chain Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. filed an application to trademark the name of a new business endeavor. "Better Burger" will be a new venture for the company that faced controversy over food safety in 2015.

You guessed it right, they'll be serving burgers.

"It's a growth seed idea we are exploring," said Chris Arnold, a spokesman for Chipotle.

The company said that the move aims to diversify what Chipotle can offer to its customers. It also noted that the Chipotle model could be used for other kinds of cuisine. The company already has two non-Chipotle "growth seeds" - ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen and Pizzeria Locale - so Better Burger may be the third.

Chipotle filed its trademark application at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on March 11.

Recovering From A Food Safety Crisis

Even though the company faced several E. coli and norovirus outbreaks since mid-2015, the company hopes to still expand the business with a new burger restaurant.

In February, store sales dropped by 26 percent and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared new E. coli infections. In early March, four of its employees tested positive for norovirus.

According to its 2015 fourth quarter earnings, the sales of the company dropped to a staggering 44 percent from its 2014 earnings. Chipotle, however, is determined to get back in the race with new plans to attract customers back.

Is "Better Burger" The Solution?

The company aims to expand the business but also win customers back. Through the establishment of a new burger chain, the company will provide a fresh start with fresh ingredients and customized menu items.

In the United States, burgers are bestsellers. Even if Americans are given other options, a survey says that about 51 percent of respondents reported ordering burgers more than any other restaurant food item.

The burger business may be a profitable venture for the company, but Chipotle would need to have something special up its sleeve to differentiate its new venture from competitors.

Photo: Daniel R. Blume | Flickr 

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