Gold Star Chili, a 95-unit chain specializing in Cincinnati-style chili, has added Cincinnati-style burritos and burrito bowls to its permanent menu.
While the offerings seem more suited to Mexican fast-casual chains, Gold Star said it would ensure its burrito products’ “Cincinnati-style” designation with the chain’s signature blend of Mediterranean spices that flavor its chili. Chain officials also noted that chili has been the most popular protein filling for the burritos in test markets over the past several months.
Charlie Howard, Gold Star’s vice president of marketing and brand development, said the brand’s spice blend also was used to season the rice that fills the burrito and burrito bowl. Customers can choose to have the products filled with the brand’s signature Cincinnati-style, veggie or Tex-Mex chili, or with grilled or crispy chicken.
Howard said the burrito products are the first of several new menu items to be introduced in 2011.
“We see new products that feature or complement our signature Cincinnati-style chili as the key to sales growth in 2011,” he said. “These new products enable us to expand our menu variety without compromising our position as a neighborhood chili parlor or cannibalizing our core product line. Test stores indicated that burritos and other new products in test resulted in increased dining occasions rather than replacing our core customers’ regular, ritual Cincinnati-style chili order.”
Additional ingredients for the burritos include shredded cheddar cheese, beans, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, black olives, onions, jalapeños and Gold Star’s proprietary Firehouse sauce. The items will sell for $5.99, and for a limited time customers can purchase a large soft drink for $1 with the purchase of a burrito or burrito bowl.
Gold Star made several menu and marketing moves last year as well, rolling out milk shakes in the summer and introducing its own food truck, the Chilimobile, as a way to expand its catering orders and further leverage its marketing spending.
Cincinnati-based Gold Star operates in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.
Contact Mark Brandau at [email protected]n.com.