Does Chipotle Ever Plan To Serve Dessert?

When struck by a hankering for tasty Mexican food made with wholesome ingredients and served in generous portions, Chipotle is the go-to selection for many diners. While Chipotle's menu contains a variety of made-to-order burritos, tacos, quesadillas, bowls, and more, dessert options are notoriously absent. According to Insider, the chain's previous dessert attempt failed to capture taste buds. In 2017, the restaurant released a sweet treat that consisted of fried pieces of tortilla sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, commonly known as buñuelos. Despite the accompanying dipping sauce and large serving size, the move proved to be a major misstep.

While the response to Chipotle's dessert experiment was mostly negative, the chain remains a favorite among discerning patrons. When Insider asked an assortment of chefs for their favorite Chipotle order, they received a litany of menu items in response. Vegan sofritas, barbacoa burritos, and carnitas bowls are just a few of the many selections named by culinary professionals polled. The quality of these menu items has much to do with Chipotle's origins, which is rooted in its founder's dedication to serving up quality eats.

Chipotle sees opportunity in adding sweets to the menu

Per Time, Chipotle Mexican Grill was founded by Steve Ells, a professionally trained chef. Ells launched the restaurant in 1993 after identifying a desire among diners for quality food made from fresh, natural ingredients. The original Denver restaurant established the food prep and cooking process that is still used in 2,450 Chipotle locations today.

As noted by Inc., Chipotle's CMO Chris Brandt had much to do with the restaurant's rising profile. After taking the helm in 2019, Brandt seamlessly paired menu innovation in the form of healthy lifestyle bowls with the convenience patrons have come to expect after so many years of being loyal customers. And with the recent announcement that Chipotle would try its hand at dessert again, the innovation train doesn't appear to be stopping any time soon.

Earlier this year, CNN reported on Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol's statement that the establishment is currently "trying to figure out a dessert proposition." This statement was backed up by Brandt, who expressed that the restaurant sees an "opportunity" in adding dessert items to the menu.

Chipotle currently has no dessert option

Many fast food and quick service restaurants offer some sort of sweet treat to customers, from McDonald's desserts & shakes to Subway's famous cookies. Even Taco Bell, which some might consider a direct competitor of Chipotle, features cinnamon twists and Cinnabon delights within its menu of Tex-Mex offerings.

It's no secret that Chipotle is very meticulous about adding new items to its menu, to the point that the chain has developed a special process for testing recipes. According to The Motley Fool, Chipotle's stage gate process is a major factor in its success. New menu items are launched in several smaller markets, and customer feedback is collected to tweak recipes for a wider release. Regarding previous dessert attempts, Fox Business quoted Brandt as saying, "A couple of items have been trialed in this [dessert] category over the past few years, however, we aren't ready to push anything through the official stage gate process yet." 

While Chipotle customers might be eager for dessert, the company wants to make certain that new releases will be met with praise and fanfare.