Industry News | September 19, 2017 | By Danny Klein | QSR Exclusive Brief

Chipotle Cutting Chorizo from the Menu

It's estimated that chorizo accounted for 3 percent of protein sales at Chipotle. Chipotle Mexican Grill
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Chipotle’s highly anticipated rollout of queso came with some collateral. The fast-casual chain confirmed to CNBC Monday that it is taking chorizo off the menu after less than a year.

CNBC reports that chorizo, according to BTIG analyst Peter Saleh, accounts for about 3 percent of protein sales at Chipotle.

"When we decided to move forward with the national rollout of queso, we opted to replace chorizo on the line with queso, so chorizo is going away," Chris Arnold, spokesman for Chipotle, told CNBC via email. "While we really liked the chorizo [and many customers did too], the efficiency of our model has always been rooted in part, in doing just a few things so we can do them really well."

After a testing period of nearly two months, Chipotle launched queso nationwide on September 12. The dip was piloted in 350 restaurants in Southern California and Colorado starting in early August, and Chipotle began serving it in its New York test kitchen a month prior.

Saleh predicted that Chipotle, whose stock was down more than 3 percent late Monday, would cut chorizo to make room for queso and possibly other future menu additions.

Reviews for queso have been mixed.

In a Reuters article Monday, Maxim analyst Stephen Anderson said Chipotle shares are dropping due to negative sentiment and “polarizing” comments about the queso on social media.

Arnold told Reuters in an email that the social sentiment is similar to what the company saw when market-wide tests began, but the company was “sufficiently encouraged by those tests—both in terms of sentiment from the research we conducted and business results—to roll out the queso nationwide.”