It wasn’t that long ago, mid-February of 2023, that Chipotle announced a farm-to-table concept, Farmesa Fresh Eatery, with the excitement of a baby announcement. It opened in a Kitchen United MIX food hall in Santa Monica, offering customizable protein bowls, which consumers could order from an onsite kiosk or through delivery. It seemed primed to carve out territory in a new nexus of healthy meals served in modern ways.

But it didn’t. Kitchen United shuttered the location and Chipotle decided not to tread on.

“We are much more focused on just turning Chipotle into an iconic brand,” said CEO Brian Niccol, when asked about it on last week’s earnings call. “If the opportunity presents itself, where it would make sense for us to do something outside of the brand, I never want to say never, but it’s just not a focus area for us right now.”

This wasn’t Chipotle’s first foray into new offerings. In 2011, it opened ShopHouse Asian Kitchen, which it eventually scaled to 15 locations before shutting them down in 2017. In 2016, it tried burgers with Tasty Made. That didn’t last long. Not everything works. But everything can be a learning experience.

“We are incorporating key learnings from the concept into future culinary innovation at Chipotle,” said Tyler Benson, senior manager of external communications, in a statement.

One of its learnings may be about the stability of partnerships in the ghost kitchen space. Kitchen United was rocking and rolling in the years following the pandemic. But then things slowed almost as quickly as they accelerated. Once a leader in the category, Kitchen United recently closed all of its locations and pivoted to software. In March, SBE and C3 Founder Sam Nazarian scooped up Kitchen United’s real estate and IP, creating the new company Everybody Eats.

Has the extinction of Farmesa halted Chipotle’s financial performance? Not in the least. Not even by one pinto bean. In its earnings report for the first quarter of 2024, it exceeded industry analyst projections, based on an increased traffic jump of 5.4 percent. Compared to the prior 2023 first-quarter earnings, total revenues grew by 14.1 percent. Chipotle attributes this success to new restaurant openings and the spike in digital sales. It shared on the earnings call that it had opened 47 new locations in the first quarter and has plans to tack on 315 more by the end of the year.

In other words, Farmesa is Whocaresa.