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carne asada chipotle.jpeg Photo courtesy of Chipotle
Chipotle is bringing back its Carne Asada for the third time.

Carne Asada returns to Chipotle’s menu for the third time

More than 10 million customers ordered Carne Asada during its first run at the restaurant in late 2019, nearly half of whom were first time guests at Chipotle.

Chipotle is bringing back its Carne Asada for a limited time, marking the entrée’s third appearance on the menu after its debut in September 2019 and its return one year later. Upon its initial launch, Carne Asada became Chipotle’s fastest-selling new protein in the company’s history and was up to four times as popular as Chipotle’s previous limited-time protein offering. According to the company, it is one of the brand’s most requested items on social media.

This time around and for the first time, customers can order Carne Asada in Chipotle’s customizable quesadillas and TikTok-inspired fajita quesadilla with melted Monterey Jack cheese and three sides. Those offerings are available exclusively on the company’s digital channels, as well as third-party delivery platforms.

"Over the past few years, our fans’ passion for Carne Asada has rivaled any other Chipotle menu item,” Chief Brand Officer Chris Brandt said in a statement. “Now, we’ve answered the call, brought back this iconic protein, and introduced an entirely new way to try Carne Asada with the Carne Asada Quesadilla.”

The return of Carne Asada comes as beef experiences elevated costs, something Chipotle’s executives touched upon several times during the company’s most recent earnings call. In Q3, they estimated the cost of sales to be higher – around 30% - in part because of higher beef prices. To mitigate this pressure in Q2, Chipotle promoted its Chicken al Pastor dish.

That said, the dish’s popularity is incentive enough to bring it back. During the company’s Q3 2019 report, shortly after the product’s initial launch, CEO Brian Niccol said the Carne Asada is easy to execute operationally but added that it is a more expensive cut of meat so “it puts a little pressure on food costs.” That said, the offering drove transactions, higher checks, and new occasions, and more than 10 million customers ordered Carne Asada during its first run.

“By all accounts, we’re delighted with what carne asada is doing for the business,” Niccol said.

During the company’s Q4 2019 earnings call in February 2020, he added that the product exceeded expectations and noted that the supply chain team is “exploring options to see if we can add this as a permanent menu item at some point in the future.”

To celebrate the return, Chipotle is offering a $0 delivery fee on orders placed on the Chipotle app or online from Sept. 14 through Oct. 1.

Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]

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