The Chipotle menu can finally add something customers really want


Changes are afoot and nowhere is this more evident than at Chipotle (GCM) – Get the report from Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc..

After years of building its brand around stability and customers ordering the same meat-guacamole-salsa-avocado combo, the brand has made some big additions to the menu.

First a few new quesadillas then a new chicken dish and now a garlic guajillo steak and potentially even desserts.

Did you hear the words “dessert” correctly?

As the fast-casual Tex-Mex chain hasn’t had a dessert on its permanent menu — the closest would be its agua fresca drinks in flavors like tangerine and organic berries — since its founding in 1993, the latter in particular has made crack many Chipotle fans. sit a little tighter.

During the company’s first-quarter earnings call on April 28, the fast-food chain announced it was toying with several dessert options to bring to the menu in the coming year.

Marketing director Chris Brandt later told Fox News that “dessert is an area where we see opportunity” even though the company isn’t “ready to push anything through the formal front door process yet.”

Other outlets later reported that some possibilities thrown by Chipotle over the past year included Mexican chocolate shakes and apple dip.

That said, neither is past the idea stage for any sort of official announcement.

In the same earnings call, Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol said the chain “uses a disciplined, phased approach to innovation” and aims to launch two to three new items each year.

Right now, that takes the form of a new protein: Garlic Guajillo Steak is currently being trialed at select Chipotle restaurants in Denver, Indianapolis, and Orange County, California.

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What is Chipotle trying to do here?

So many new items mark a major change for Chipotle. The new Pollo Asado launched in March was the first new chicken dish to appear on the menu in the chain’s 29-year history.

While competitors love Yum! Brands (YUM) – Get yum! Report Brands, Inc.owned by Taco Bell currently has its Cinnabon Delights, Chipotle has yet to launch a permanent dessert.

In the past, Chipotle tried to test cinnamon-dusted dough fritters called Bunuelos and one Mexican chocolate milkshake but no dessert ever took off.

Everything Chipotle is doing now is clearly working, as a recent earnings call reported a 26% increase in revenue between 2020 and 2021.

But the absence of dessert has also not gone unnoticed by those who regularly eat in the fast-casual chain and some on Reddit have been for years. theorize why Chipotle hasn’t launched one yet.

The most common theories are the difficulty of assembly in place and the stability of the menu.

People want dessert. Or do they?

Even when he manages to gain iconic status from something like McDonald’s (MCD) – Get the McDonald’s Corporation report McFlurry, dessert is usually of secondary importance to fast food chains that have not specialized in it.

It rarely accounts for even 10% of all sales for a given channel and is often more of a strategy to attract customers to their stores rather than a primary means of generating revenue.

But at the same time, any hint of a new dessert from a popular chain is often met with a lot of internet buzz.

Part of it is excitement, but more often than not, longtime fans leave sarcastic comments about what they consider sacrilege on the menu,

“Chipotle is going to start offering desserts, when what we really want is BREAKFAST”, user @VegasGiblet wrote on Twitter (TWTR) – Get the report from Twitter, Inc. Publish.

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