Chipotle’s Health Scares Do Little For Competitors

CmM6g2YWEAAbmDC.jpgAfter their third straight quarter of declining sales, things continue to look bleak for the once-great Chipotle. The company posted sales this quarter down 24% from the previous year, and quarterly profits of $26 million (compared to $140 million immediately before the E. Coli outbreaks late last year).

One might think that such a plummet would be good news for competitors, but so far the opposite seems to be the case, with other Mexican fast food and fast-casual chains seeing a decline as well. Taco Bell’s same-store sales fell 1%, due in part to a decrease in foot traffic despite hefty advertising dollars spent selling items like the “Quesalupa.” Qdoba on the other hand tried to specifically target Chipotle customers, but claims such ads and promos ultimately hurt their margins.

To read more, click here.

Free Burritos Can’t Help Chipotle Recover before 2018, But Maybe Burgers Can?

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Chipotle’s next move?

After their colossal – and well publicized – downfall, Chipotle has been doing everything possible to get back in customer’s good graces. That includes giving away about 9 million free burritos earlier this month, according to the chain (that’s $62 million worth, if anyone’s counting). They plan to send another 21 million free food coupons in the mail this month. But analysts from Wedbush Securities point out that, while sales may be returning slowly, the coupon strategy isn’t a sustainable one. Eventually, guests have to forget the reason they stopped coming in the first place.

The investment firm downgraded Chipotle’s shares and cut their target stock price from $450 to $400, saying that “current valuation reflects an overly optimistic outlook regarding Chipotle’s path to recovery.” They do not expect Chipotle to recover the sales lost from the salmonella, norovirus and E. Coli outbreaks until at least 2018.

One curveball to these predictions may be the news that Chipotle has applied for a trademark on the name “Better Burger,” indicating they have plans to recoup the losses in another way. It’s a strange move considering the number of existing burger chains, and there’s no word yet from Chipotle on how they plan to market themselves in this arena.

To read more, click here and here.

Steven Starr’s El Vez Opening in Battery Park

Stephen Starr, the well-known Philadelphia restaurateur is opening his second El Vez location in Battery Park City tonight. This is the third restaurant Starr has brought to New York City from Philly after Buddakan and Morimoto in 2006. The menu at this El Vez is somewhat less extensive than the one in Philly but plenty of nachos, quesadillas, ceviches, and tacos. The space includes a massive bar and walls lined with round banquettes. There’s a photo booth and a large outdoor patio with a take-out burrito bar opening in the next few weeks.

 

 

 

Chipotle’s Steve Ells on Their Success

Steve Ells sits down with Denver Westword to talk about Chipotle’s 2-decade run and what it took to get there.

There are thirteen “characteristics” required of Chipotle employees, who now number more than 40,000. One is “infectious enthusiasm.” Another is “happy” — you must be happy. Half-time happy doesn’t cut it.

It’s those attributes — along with fast food focused on slow-food philosophies, resulting in burritos that make loyal fans very, very happy — that have elevated Chipotle Mexican Grill to worldwide dominance and earned its founder,Steve Ells, the title of Most Inspiring CEO in America last year from Esquire.

Read the full story here.

Chipotle’s Serving Local Produce, Chooses Transparency for GMOs

Fast Casual reports Chipotle Mexican Grill plans to serve more than 15 million pounds of locally grown produce in its restaurants this year, up from its 2012 goal of 10 million pounds, according to a company press release.

At the same time, they are also reporting that Chipolte is one of the few companies that has chosen to be transparent about GMOs, which they are trying to get away from. The website  states that the company is trying to eliminate the use of GMOs, but that finding reliable sources of corn and soybeans that don’t have them is nearly impossible.

“We are changing the way people think about and eat fast food,” said Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle. “That means pushing ourselves to find the best quality ingredients — ingredients that have traditionally been available only in high end restaurants and specialty food markets – and making them available in way that is accessible and affordable.”

 

Latin-themed restaurants update their menu with national trends

There is so much popularity around Latin cuisine– from fast casual to fine dining. Now, many of these restaurants are incorporating other trends into their summer menu, from authenticity to superfoods and better-for-you ingredients.
For example, Chevy Tex Mex has updated their kid’s menu to offer Chicken Fajita served with carrots, celery sticks and apple wedges and water for beverage in addition to many other healthy options

New York City Food Trucks go Inside your Companies place of work.

Food Trucks head inside to your place of work. NYC food trucks have been traveling up the freight elevator of the 19-story Starrett-Lehigh Building at 601 West 26th Street in West Chelsea, to offer dining options five days a week to some 6,000 office workers and visitors.

“This is the first indoor vertical food-truck court in the city, and as far as I know, the country,”
said David Weber, president of the New York City Food Truck Association, which was asked by
the building’s owner, RXR Realty, to curate the daily “truck collection” because of a paucity of
lunchtime choices in the neighborhood, west of the High Line between 11th and 12th Avenues.

NYC Food Trucks Go Vertical, Reported by the New York Times