Chipotle Mexican Grill is planning to roll out at least three new menu innovations this year, including a new steak option — carne asada — along with new noncarbonated drinks and an upgraded version of nachos after the chain’s first failed attempt in 2018.
In 2018, Chipotle tested nachos but received negative feedback from consumers who discovered the nachos were simply cold chips drizzled with Chipotle’s (also cold) queso sauce. They had expected warm chips covered with a heftier portion of queso.
“We’re going back to the drawing board on nachos and do it the way people would expect nachos at Chipotle,” Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol said June 5 at the 2019 Global Consumer, Technology & Services Conference held by wealth management company Baird, according to Nation’s Restaurant News. Niccol mentioned plans to use ovens to warm the chips before serving. The fast-casual chain hopes that the warmer, cheesier nachos will prove more of a success.
A representative from Chipotle told The Daily Meal that the carne asada (thinly sliced, grilled beef) is currently being tested in Fresno, California, and Cincinnati, Ohio. Niccol said during the conference that the new option offers “another steak experience” for consumers in test markets. This is the first new protein offered since the chain added and then removed chorizo from the menu in 2017.
One Chipotle employee uploaded a photo of the carne asada to Reddit on May 9, noting that the seasoning and preparation are different from the chain’s normal steak. Another employee commented that the carne asada “tastes pretty good” due to a different cut of meat, and a customer who got to try it said it was “10x better” than the original version.
The final menu change consumers should expect is to the chain’s drink menu. “We are looking to innovate our beverage offerings,” a representative from Chipotle told The Daily Meal, “but we don’t have anything specific in test right now.” At the conference, Niccol mentioned the potential for teas, juices and lemonades for Chipotle’s menu.
Only time will tell whether these items will eventually be offered nationwide — or whether they’ll join the shameful list of failed fast food menu items throughout history.