September 17, 2019 / 12:04 PM / a month ago

Chipotle adds new menu item nationwide, first time in three years

Sept 17 (Reuters) - Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc said on Tuesday it would add a new item to its menu nationwide for the first time in three years, as the Mexican food chain looks to drive sales in a crowded U.S restaurant market.

The company’s menu will offer carne asada, a dish of thin steak slices seasoned with signature spices, for a limited period of time. The dish was piloted in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Fresno, California, Chipotle said.

“It performed incredibly well in the test markets,” said Chris Brandt, chief marketing officer of Chipotle. Chipotle has been working to rebuild its image under Chief Executive Officer Brian Niccol after a series of food safety lapses hit the company’s reputation in 2015. It has been testing new menu items in addition to other initiatives such as new ad campaigns and loyalty program to boost its turnaround.

In July, Niccol teased the national rollout of new additions to the menu including carne asada, quesadillas, desserts and nachos.

The rollout begins on Tuesday for Chipotle Rewards loyalty program members through its app and would be made available to all customers on Sept. 19, the restaurant chain said.

In January, the company launched a new line of “lifestyle bowls”, including paleo and keto salads for online customers.

Shares of Chipotle have risen 85% so far this year, outperforming the broader S&P 500 Restaurant index’s about 27% gain year-to-date. (Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal and Soundarya J in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

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