Menu Innovation is Expected from Chipotle as Former Taco Bell CEO Takes Over

It looks like nachos, quesadillas, salads and new grain options may possibly be new Chipotle menu items, according to Founder and Executive Chairman Steve Ells.

“These are things customers are asking for,” said Ells on the company’s latest earnings call, as reported by Bloomberg.

Just last week, the company began to test a new non-dessert offering, spokesman Chris Arnold told Bloomberg via email. This happened a few days after news broke Brian Niccol, the former chief executive officer of Yum! Brands’ Taco Bell Division, is set to lead Chipotle starting March 5. Although the test may be unrelated, more menu changes are expected once Niccol takes the reins.

The seasoned CEO was credited with attracting patrons with innovative LTOs, like Nacho Fries, and launching numerous product initiatives, like Taco Bell’s breakfast daypart, during his time at the fast-food chain.

As Bloomberg reports, “Chipotle has used its New York restaurant to experiment. Recently, it tried out frozen margaritas -- a test that’s since spread to Austin, Texas. The kitchen has also tried salad greens with an avocado citrus dressing.”

It’s appropriate to mention, the Mexican Grill brand has struggled with innovation in the past. For the most part, Chipotle has kept a consistent core menu since it first opened in 1993. It wasn’t until the brand suffered PR nightmares thanks to breakouts of foodborne illness that Chipotle decided to roll out new menu items to lure customers back in.

The fast casual brand’s first attempt was its chorizo, a pork and chicken blend that was launched mid-2016 and removed from its menu a little over a year later. Then, most recently, the burrito brand failed to introduce a queso, a nacho cheese made from real ingredients, that would excite guests and drive foot-traffic to its stores. There was so much backlash that the company decided to rework the recipe to improve flavor and texture. Currently, Chipotle is working on releasing a new dessert to its test restaurant.

To learn more about expected menu items for Chipotle, visit “Bloomberg.”