Chipotle Adding Chorizo To The Menu Nationwide

More than an 16 months after Chipotle began testing chorizo as a protein option at its Kansas City-area locations, and four months after it began allowing customers in four other states and Washington, D.C. to add the meat to their burritos, burrito bowls, salads, and tacos, the company is ready to bring the spicy meat nationwide. 

Starting tomorrow, all Chipotle restaurants will offer the pork-and-chicken sausage blend on their menus, the fast casual restaurant announced Monday.

“The reaction to chorizo in the cities that have had it has been overwhelmingly positive, so we’re making it available in all of our restaurants across the country,” Steve Ells, co-CEO of Chipotle, said in a statement.

The new option is made with “responsibly raised” chicken and pork, and seasoned with paprika, toasted cumin and chipotle peppers, and then seared on a hot grill to give it a perfect char.

Adding Chorizo to the national menu has been a long time coming for Chipotle. The company initially added the meat to the menu in Kansas City in June 2015. Select restaurants in Washington, D.C., Ohio, New York, Colorado, and California received chorizo in June 2016.

The company had previously planned to rollout the option nationally sooner, but noted on an earnings call earlier this year that the launch had been postponed because of the company’s on-going food safety crisis.

Instead of adding the new menu item, Chipotle instead focused on courting former customers and attracting new one with things like giving away free food — to kids, college students, and others — launching limited-time promotions, and a temporary loyalty program.

Those measures don’t seem to be helping the company rebound. A survey recently found that 25% of former customers have stopped going to the restaurant or have been stopping by less frequently.

Last month, activist investor Bill Ackman’s Pershing Capital Management took a 9.9% stake in the company as an attempt to turn its sagging sales around and the company said it would put more focus on its European business.

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