Chipotle

Chipotle Plans Biggest Growth Yet in 2012

Chipotle Mexican Grill executives sounded an optimistic note for the coming year during the company's fourth-quarter earnings call, despite an anticipated double-digit rise in costs for the company's naturally cultivated commodities.

Montgomery Moran, co-CEO of Chipotle, said the company expects to open 155–165 new Chipotle locations in 2012.

Popular Menu Proteins

As Americans’ hunger for burgers and chicken continues to grow, restaurant operators are tweaking their menus to meet consumers’ demands for new meats and higher quality.

An increasing number of limited-service restaurants have added better and more “natural” meat to their repertoires. At the same time, they are featuring other proteins.

From the growth of Angus menu items to the specialty burger craze, there has been no slowdown in sales of beef on a bun, according to a Technomic study last summer.

Politician to FDA: 'Get Head Out of Sand'

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-28), Ranking Member of the House Rules Committee, responded to the announcement by the FDA that it is withdrawing proposals to remove approvals for two antibiotics used in livestock feed. The announcement comes after the U.S. Department of Agriculture recalled meat contaminated with antibiotic-resistant Salmonella earlier this month.

USDA Risk Management Tool Aims for GAP

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, along with leaders from food and agriculture organizations, introduced today a free online tool to help U.S. producers of all sizes achieve Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) harmonized standards and certification, helping to further expand economic opportunities for American agriculture.

USDA's GAP audit verification program focuses on best agricultural practices to verify that farms are producing, and that packers are handling and storing, fruits and vegetables in the safest manner possible to minimize food safety hazards.

Chipotle CEO Gets Political, Calls for Clean Food

In a Congressional briefing on Capitol Hill today, Chipotle CEO Steve Ells called for an end to the overuse of antibiotics in American meats. Ells’ wildly successful 1,200-unit Mexican fast casual only uses hormone- and antibiotic-free meats.

“It’s going to take restaurants like Chipotle creating more of a demand, but also it’s going to take more work here to call for change in legislation” to end the overuse of antibiotics in the American food supply, Ells said.

Pork it Over: the Meat Expands its Role on Menus

Leading restaurants are expanding the protein selection on their menus by offering more pork dishes, according to foodservice consultants Technomic.

With a 7 percent increase in menu mentions over the past year, pork is now being showcased in appetizers, entrees, and sides. This protein suits the trend of using rustic, natural ingredients, from Chipotle’s use of naturally raised pork for its carnitas to Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants’ new All-Natural Iowa Pork Tenderloin Medallions with a maple, mustard, and pretzel crust.

More than Minimum Wage

With 12.8 million workers, the restaurant industry is one of the largest employers in the country. Industry champions often boast of the distinction, and particularly now, with national unemployment at 9.1 percent, it appears as if the restaurant industry is playing a hefty role in the U.S. labor market.

Of course, people who have had their eye on the industry for a while remember a time, before the Great Recession, when it wasn’t easy to recruit quality employees or even a full staff.

Double Dip? Bring It On

Having survived one debilitating recession, restaurants feel poised to withstand another.

With the housing market still depressed, food prices on the rise, and unemployment hovering above 9 percent, some economists now fear that the nation is on the verge of entering a second round of recession, if it hasn’t already.

While the prospect of a “double dip” into recession should have restaurant operators concerned, many say the Great Recession that began in 2008 adequately prepared them for the worst.

Pages