Sure, a year ago Chipotle was involved in one of the largest food safety scares in recent history, but business must go on, right? The company is making some big changes according to a recent earnings call with investors, and while some make perfect sense for the brand, others could be less exciting for the fast casual chain’s fanbase.
Chipotle’s menu hasn’t changed much since their inception in 1993. They did add Chorizo to the meat options recently, but that’s the biggest nationwide rollout ever for the chain. That new meat option already accounts for 7% of sales nationwide though, so it looks like it was a good call adding it.
Now, the restaurant is expanding their menu even further, as founder Steve Ells claims that they’re testing two dessert options. He remained tight-lipped on details but did mention that they’re close to providing more health conscious tortillas for their patrons. Ells also mentioned the exciting prospect of breakfast offerings in the company’s future.
People don’t want to wait in line for fast food anymore. Chick-Fil-A has an app, Shake Shack is testing an app, and many other restaurants have followed suit in order to cut down on wait times. How much space do you really have on your phone for apps, though? That’s why Chipotle is working on a “responsive online ordering website” which wouldn’t require you to use some of that coveted storage on your phone for an app.
Also, Ells says they’re working on a tablet system on which guests can order food while waiting in line. Each of their restaurants has a second “make line” in the back of the house that you can’t see. They use this for online orders, catering and more, and this tablet system would allow the extra make line to help churn out entrees even faster.
In order to improve customer flow, seating and presentation of the kitchen, Chipotle is testing a new design. Marketing officer Mark Crumpacker says that the new design is already available in some markets and currently under construction in others. They plan to open around 200 new restaurants in 2017.
ShopHouse is an Asian offshoot of Chipotle’s and Ells cites lack of meaningful growth as the reason to stop pushing the new brand. The company has recently expressed interest in expanding into other domains, such as pizza and burgers. The wide appeal of these types of foods seem like a better fit for Chipotle, if you ask us.
Overall, these changes could really be good for business. If Chipotle can successfully roll out the new menu items and ways to order, they could help people forget about the cleanliness issues, legal problems and mistreating of employees that have plagued the company in recent history. Honestly, we hope they can get it together because their food is still good… when it’s not making you sick.