DENVER – Chipotle Mexican Grill is adding chorizo as a new menu item in select cities, with a rollout to all of its restaurants in the United States slated for this fall.
Test markets for the chorizo item include Columbus, Ohio, New York City, Sacramento, California and San Diego; in addition to one restaurant in Denver and the Dulles International Airport location in Washington.
“Since we opened the first Chipotle 23 years ago, our menu has changed very little, and our focus has been on constantly improving the quality and taste of the food we serve,” Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle, said in a statement. “While we have never been opposed to changing our menu, we only do so when we think there’s an opportunity to add something that is really unique but that fits within our overall menu, and where we can find ingredients that meet our high standards.”
In April, Mark Crumpacker, chief creative and development officer for Chipotle, said the company was prepared to expand chorizo to a second market after testing in Kansas City, but delayed the rollout when a series of foodborne illness problems affected some Chipotle restaurants. However, the item proved very popular among customers.
“In fact, for a lot of people who tried it, it quickly became their most favorite protein,” Crumpacker said in April. “And so it will be very helpful for us from a marketing perspective to bring those customers back in and make our loyal customers come more often.”
Another initiative aimed at luring customers back to Chipotle is a recently launched Chiptopia Summer Rewards program. From July through September, participating customers can earn free rewards for making multiple paid visits to Chipotle restaurants within a given month. Customers must spend a minimum of $6 to earn points.