Chipotle

Chipotle Appeals to Vegans, Vegetarians with Tofu Product

Chipotle Mexican Grill plans to test a new vegetarian menu item called “Sofritas” in seven San Francisco Bay Area restaurants beginning Tuesday, February 12.

Sofritas, shredded tofu braised with chipotle chilis, roasted poblanos, and a blend of aromatic spices, is made with organic, non-GMO tofu from Oakland’s Hodo Soy.

Chipotle expects Sofritas to appeal to vegetarian and vegan customers, as well as those who are looking for an exciting new taste.

Chipotle Caters Colorado; National Rollout Coming Soon

Chipotle Mexican Grill will offer customers a new way to enjoy their food with the launch of its catering service, beginning in Colorado on January 21. Chipotle catering allows groups of 20 to 200 to customize their own individual meal the same way they do at Chipotle restaurants. The company will add catering to all of its markets in the coming months.

Chipotle Offers 'Burritos by the Box' Promo

Pro football fans typically celebrate the sport’s biggest game of the year with food—lots of food—making it the second-largest eating occasion of the year.

This year, fans who choose Chipotle for their big game party can get just a little more to eat, for free. Simply purchase six or more “Burritos by the Box” on Sunday, February 3, and Chipotle will give you a free burrito, bowl, salad, or order of tacos when you bring back the receipt from your order to any Chipotle by February 28, 2013.

12 for ’12

Our athletes went to the Olympics, our science went to Mars, and our people went to the polls. But what of the restaurant industry in 2012? These dozen items from the year had the biggest impact on the foodservice landscape and shaped the industry for a potentially game-changing 2013.

An Economy in Flux

The economic recovery isn’t lighting a fire under anyone’s feet, but the economy did at least improve, albeit slightly.

Year of the Brand

In this last Brand New Perspectives of 2012, I’m breaking from my usual Q&A format to recap some of the most important brand developments in fast food this past year.

Despite the sluggish economy and uncertainty that typically accompanies election years, companies in our industry chose to make some of their boldest moves in 2012, and some exciting new chains took the stage. Here are my picks for the seven biggest brand stories of the year.

Chipotle Signs Agreement with CIW to Join Fair Food Program

Chipotle Mexican Grill and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a farmworker-based human rights organization, have reached an agreement that brings Chipotle’s commitment to sustainable food to the CIW’s Fair Food Program.

The agreement, which will improve wages and working conditions for farmworkers in Florida who pick tomatoes for Chipotle, comes in advance of the winter tomato-growing season, when most of the nation’s tomatoes come from growers in Florida.

The Fair Food Program provides a bonus for tomato pickers to improve wages.

Two Birds, One Stone

Brands combine ever-important healthy eating and philanthropic efforts.

Kids' meal purchases at Chipotle in August helped the Veggie U nonprofit.
Kids' meal purchases at Chipotle in August helped the Veggie U nonprofit.

Healthy menu options and philanthropic efforts have become expected weapons in every quick serve’s arsenal over the last few years. Now, major brands are increasingly figuring out how to kill two birds with one stone by combining those efforts.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, for example, has helped spread the message about nutrition and sustainable agriculture in schools through a partnership with the Milan, Ohio–based nonprofit Veggie U.

Starbucks Holds $87.4M in Impact Media Value

Starbucks is the top quick-service restaurant brand with $87.4 million of Impact Media Value according to General Sentiment’s Q2 2012 QSR MediaMatch report.

McDonald’s ($39.4 million), Taco Bell ($38.7 million), Burger King ($37.4 million), and Chipotle ($29.5 million) round out the top five. The top six brands in the rankings have remained unchanged since the last report.

Chipotle Meets Pasture-Raised Sour Cream Goal

Chipotle Mexican Grill announced that it has reached an important milestone in its efforts to serve sour cream and cheese made with milk from pasture-raised dairy cows.

Beginning this month, 100 percent of the restaurants' sour cream will come from pasture-raised cattle. Under this protocol, cows have daily access to outdoor pastures, are never given added hormones, and are fed a plant-based diet. In addition, the animals must have access to shelter, housing, or windbreaks that provide adequate protection from the elements.

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