Chipotle Changes Menu to Jumpstart Customer Interest

Apr 02, 2016 02:43 AM EDT | By Chandan Das

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Chipotle restaurant workers fill orders for customers on the day that the company announced it will only use non-GMO ingredients in its food on April 27, 2015 in Miami, Florida.
Chipotle restaurant workers fill orders for customers on the day that the company announced it will only use non-GMO ingredients in its food on April 27, 2015 in Miami, Florida.
(Photo : Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Burrito chain Chipotle has been struggling with its sales following its recent food safety incidents. Hence, in order to jumpstart customer interest, the company is looking to add new craft beers to its drinks menu. 

Currently, Chipotle is testing sangria, draft beer, a frozen take of its margarita and few other new items in Denver, Colorado. In addition, the company is also planning to incorporate iced tea, watermelon-infused water, and natural fountain drinks into its menu, Restaurant Business Online reported. While noting that booze accounts for roughly 2 percent of the fast casual's sales of the chain, a spokesperson of Chipotle clarified that currently they have t no plan to introduce the new beverages other locations.

The alcohol component of the new program is being undertaken along with master sommelier Richard Betts, a winemaker with his roots in nearby Aspen, Co., the spokesperson told The Street

In fact, margarita has been a staple menu of the company since its founding, and it will see a new frozen edition prepared with astral tequila, agave syrup and real lemon and lime juices. In addition, Chipotle is also adding sangria from Eppa Sangria, a certified-organic winemaker in California, in addition to a draft beer good-humoredly called Oskar Blues Beerito, which will now be available in cans.

In terms of Chipotle's non-alcoholic beverages, the company in rolling out a new watermelon-infused water and an iced tea from In Pursuit of Tea, a loose leaf tea maker. The food retail has also tossed its soda supplier, Coca-Cola, with its drinks menu revamp.

In addition, new fountain drinks comprise Coke Life, a lower-calorie Coke sweetened version with stevia and cane sugar, and Blue Sky Soda, which makes all-natural soft drinks and is partially owned by Coke. In fact, this will be the first time when Coke Life or Blue Sky Soda will be available in fountain versions.

According to the Chipotle spokesman, they will first evaluate the performance of the new drinks and then consider about introducing them to other locations beyond Denver. 

Traditionally, Chipotle has been disinclined to make any changes to its menu fearing that it may upset its customers and slow up busy lines. This is in sharp contrast to the stand adopted by many other fast food companies, which regularly introduce new items to stimulate publicity and buzz.

However, Chipotle introduced margaritas with Patrón Silver tequila in April 2013. It is a more expensive offering than its "house" version. A year later, in 2014, the food chain added a new food to its menu with its sofritas for the first time in its history. Sofritas is basically shredded organic tofu braised with poblanos, chipotle chilies, and spices.  

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