When burrito chain Chipotle recently added queso dip to its menu, it seemed like the answer to many Chipotle fans’ prayers. But while the new cheesy dip made headlines, they weren’t necessarily good, with a number of early customers voicing their disappointment. However, Chipotle claims most people actually like the queso, and at the very least it’s not hurting sales.
Announcing his company’s latest quarterly earnings, CEO Steve Ellis argued that the burrito chain had been able to “change the narrative about Chipotle” in the wake of the high-profile 2015-2016 food-borne illness and norovirus outbreaks at a few Chipotle locations. Sales through the first nine months of 2017 were up 17% over the same period last year, said Ells.
Chief marketing Officer Mark Crumpacker explained during the call that around 19% of the new and “lapsed” customers visiting in recent months ordered queso, and around 15% of customers are continuing to order it either as a side or as a topping to their entrée.
Sales at the California and Colorado restaurants where queso was initially tested average out to around 15% long after those tests began. While queso-haters on social media are are loud, the company claims that its research found that “93% of customers that tried queso on an entrée said they like our queso,” Crumpacker reported.
Another upcoming menu change at the chain could eliminate the last genetically modified organisms on the chain’s menu, the high fructose corn syrup in the mainstream sodas that it serves, as part of a promised “top to bottom redesign of the beverages [Chipotle] serves and how they are merchandised to our customers.”
That’s the only information we have, but expect something similar to the lower-calorie house-made beverages that Panera Bread now emphasizes.
Other planned changes at Chipotle will include a redesigned app, which will include pretty basic features like being able to quickly reorder one’s favorite past meals, and being able to use Apple Pay to place orders. The chain also hopes to boost catering orders by cutting the minimum order from 20 diners to 10.