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Chipotle expands test of chorizo

If rolled out, item would be chain first’s new meat option in years, analyst says

Chipotle Mexican Grill has expanded a test of a new chorizo sausage that, if rolled out, would be the chain’s first new meat option in years, a securities analyst said Friday.

The more than 1,000-unit Chipotle told NRN on Friday that chorizo has been rolled out to all but four of its restaurants in New York, and that the test would be expanded to a Denver unit in about a week.

Officials with the Denver-based company briefly mentioned testing chicken chorizo in a first-quarter earnings call to analysts in April, but only in reference to the difficulty of cooking it on the chain’s grooved griddles.

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In a research note Friday, analyst Mark Kalinowski of Janney Capital Markets discussed the impact Chipotle's chorizo could have on traffic should it be rolled out systemwide.

“Should Chipotle eventually decide to roll out chorizo on a systemwide basis, it would be the first protein thus rolled out in many years, as best we can tell,” Kalinowski wrote. “We believe that such a move would likely help to drive customer frequency, as Chipotle’s fans try out the new protein.”

According to Kalinowski, the chicken chorizo burrito option had been spotted in Chipotle locations in Manhattan at prices ranging between $7.35 and $7.81. In his report, he included a photo of a Chipotle sign that said the chorizo was made with “naturally raised pork and chicken sausage with herbs and spices.”

Though Chipotle has offered a vegetarian protein in some markets, the meat lineup has remained focused on beef, pork and chicken.

Jack in the Box has a chorizo sausage burrito on its breakfast menu, but the Spanish-style sausage has not been utilized by many other national restaurant chains.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected].
Follow her on Twitter @livetodineout

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