Chipotle

A Quick-Serve Rebound?

Technomic report shows strong growth for some chains in 2012.

Dickey's Barbecue Pit enjoyed the best growth among quick service restaurants.
Dickey's Barbecue Pit enjoyed the best growth among quick-service restaurants in 2012.

In a sign that the economic landscape might finally be rebounding for quick serves, early results from Technomic’s upcoming “Top 500 Restaurant Chain” report reveal that the fastest-growing limited-service restaurant chains in the U.S. realized average sales increases of 22.3 percent between 2011 and 2012.

Chipotle Unveils Cultivate Festival Lineups and Dates

Chipotle Mexican Grill has announced the lineup for its 2013 Cultivate food, music, and ideas festival series, with events planned in San Francisco, Denver, and Chicago.

The one-day festivals all include cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs, live music, local food artisans, regional beer and wines, a special Chipotle festival menu, and other activities emphasizing fresh and affordable food made with sustainable ingredients.

Tricks of the Local Trade

Given the option to serve products that are considered fresh, high quality, and superior in taste—products that consumers crave and feel a connection to—operators generally don’t have to think twice. That’s why many limited-service brands are jumping on board with the local-foods trend, opting to purchase many of their ingredients straight from the source, whether it’s a cheese maker 100 miles away or a strawberry producer right down the street.

Buzzwords, Defined

In the last several years, as consumers have become savvier and more educated about the food they eat, words like fresh, local, and artisanal have become the norm in the foodservice industry.

But with many companies throwing these terms around seemingly at will to try to differentiate their brand and resonate with customers, definitions have been grayed and misconceptions have been made. After all, many of these words still go undefined by regulatory bodies (unlike organic, which is regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)).

When Burritos and Cotton Collide

Chipotle’s commitment to organic cotton might not be apparent to diners, but every employee wears the evidence—literally.

One hundred percent of Chipotle’s employees wear uniforms from Loomstate, a company dedicated to offering sustainable, organic, and quality clothing. The initiative kicked off in 2010, and the restaurant recently began offering a public line of Chipotle-branded, 100 percent organic cotton Loomstate apparel through its Web store.

AllergyEats Reveals the Most Allergy-Friendly Restaurants

AllergyEats, the leading guide to allergy-friendly restaurants nationwide, has just revealed the most accommodating restaurant chains, based on feedback from the food allergy community. Restaurants were rated solely on how well they've accommodated food-allergic diners, and not on any other factors, such as ambiance or food quality. 

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.

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