Chipotle runs out of carne asada, but plans on several new alternatives


The informal chain announced that it is adding carne asada, another steak option, to nationwide menus.

Your Guacen is safe for now, but your local Chipotle Mexican Grill may soon be empty for Carne Asada.

During a quarterly earnings interview Tuesday, Chipotle officials with the fast casual chain said the new It is expected that limited-time steak options will expire in late November or early December. It was introduced in September and was intended to be a seasonal product.

The prices and availability of avocados – which were in short supply and high demand during a summer of record high prices – have stabilized, officials said. Some places had a lack of guacamole.

John Hartung, chief financial officer at Chipotle, said that an abundant harvest of avocado is expected next year.

"We expect continuous moderation of avocado prices as a result of increasing supply in the back half of the quarter," said Hartung, noting that the company also received more supply from Peru and reduced its dependence on Mexico.

Opening its stake in beef: Chipotle adds carne asada to the menu for a limited time

Several new menu items are expected, and Chipotle is currently testing quesadillas, salads and a new queso called Queso Blanco, said CEO Brian Niccol.

The new and whiter queso is being tested in Detroit, Dallas and San Diego, said Chris Brandt, Chipotle's marketing manager, in an interview with USA TODAY.

"The queso performs very well in all three markets," he said. "We think it will be ready to go sometime in 2020."

Along with looking at adding more choices, the chain is planning new locations. Hartung said they plan to open 140 to 155 in the current financial year and then 150 to 165 new restaurants by 2020. More than half of the new locations will have a Chipotlane, a special drive-through.

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You cannot order food on a Chipotlane, which is a "mobile ordering lane." You need to place a mobile order, choose pick-up time and then head to Chipotlane to get the food.

Growing digital sales is an important Chipotle strategy, officials discussed Tuesday.

"Our digital sales have started up very quickly and are over 18% of sales," says Brandt. "We will be at $ 1 billion in digital sales we believe by the end of the year."

Follow Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko


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