"The item we are considering introducing first is chorizo, which is something we've done before," he said. "We did it in Kansas City last year and we were prepared to expand that to a second market right as we came into this food-borne illness situation and we tabled it so that we could put all of our focus on correcting the problem. But we did find that was very, very popular with our loyal customers. In fact, for a lot of people who tried it, it quickly became their most favorite protein."
Chipotle co-CEO Steve Ells described the new chorizo as a perfect and "really delicious" addition to Chipotle's signature assembly line. "It's a chicken and pork spicy sausage, we cook this on our plancha, it has lots of little crispy bit so it has nice spicy and really good texture, and as Mark said, very very popular with the customers that had it in a couple of our test markets," he said. "... Chorizo fits into [Chipotle's system] really well in that we have space for it on the main line and it doesn't detract from throughput."
In addition to the potential rewards program and new menu items, the execs signaled a transition from sending out a zillion free burrito coupons (which don't result in sales) to more buy-one-get-one promotions (which do result in sales) -- presumably deals like the one coming up for Teacher Appreciation Day. After all, the company saw revenue decrease by 23.4% to $834.5 million, with a net loss of $26.4 million, according to the earnings report.
When reached via email, Chipotle Spokesman Chris Arnold wouldn't provide additional details on the plans for a rewards program or what other new items you can expect to see on the menu, but said to stay tuned. Of course, we're still hoping Chipotle will take our advice and launch what seems to be a no-brainer: Nacho Bowls.
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Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and wonders how much Chipotle you'll have to eat to ultimately eat more Chipotle. Send news tips to email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.