DENVER — Bacon is making its way to more Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants following a successful trial at the burrito chain’s test kitchen in New York. In September, eight restaurants in Orange County, California., will offer applewood smoked bacon as an addition to burritos, bowls and tacos, before the option is considered for a full-market test.
“Consumers have always said ‘everything tastes better with bacon,’ and that is exactly what we confirmed in our New York test kitchen,” said Chris Brandt, chief marketing officer. “We found consumers added bacon to their traditional bowls, burritos, tacos and nachos while also enjoying new items such as the BLT quesadilla with bacon, lettuce, tomato and cheese grilled to perfection.”
We’re not saying we’re not testing bacon in our NYC Next Kitchen.— Chipotle (@ChipotleTweets) August 9, 2018
For now, quesadillas are only available at the test kitchen in New York, and nachos are offered in 10 restaurants with an expansion planned in Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul area locations in October. The menu item features corn tortilla chips, queso and a choice of meat, beans, salsas and lettuce.
In Miami and Dallas, Chipotle Mexican Grill is testing late-night deals, including $2 tacos with the purchase of a beverage after 8 p.m. The participating restaurants will extend hours of operation until 11 p.m.
“A cornerstone of our new strategy is to make Chipotle more culturally relevant and to meet our customers where they are with flavorful food they can feel good about eating,” Brandt said. “We know that Chipotle is a great place to start or end the night, which is why we’re excited to test this pilot with our Miami and Dallas night owl fans.”
The company has developed a stage-gate process to test, learn, listen to consumer feedback and iterate before rolling out a new initiative.