New Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol is taking pages out of the playbook he developed while at Taco Bell, announcing a massive, multi-tiered restrategizing plan. From store remodels and marketing revamps to introducing new snacking-themed menu items and a loyalty program, the fast-casual chain is seeking to become “culturally relevant” in an age where many would rather pick up a quick $2 taco than spend time in an outdated restaurant.
"All our efforts will focus on making the brand more engaging, visible, and culturally relevant while our restaurant teams are dedicated to providing an excellent guest experience with great hospitality and real food cooked to perfection,” said Niccol upon announcing the strategy. “Specifically, this will include three big initiatives—revamping our marketing communications and plans, leveraging our second make line to grow digital sales and expand access, and engaging with our customers by launching a new loyalty program in 2019."
When you look at the proposed new menu items Niccol has introduced, the parallels Chipotle is trying to draw to Taco Bell is clear. Quesadillas, nachos, a spring salad, Mexican chocolate milkshakes, and avocado tostadas are all being tested in New York City markets, highlighting an emphasis on quick bites, snacking, and more indulgent choices than the healthy-ish items Chipotle usually pushes. The company has also focused on modernizing and digitizing its restaurants, including partnering with Door Dash for delivery and more.
"We believe our digital business has a long runway for growth and ultimately can be a multi-billion-dollar business," added Niccol.
Chipotle will begin testing a new restaurant design this fall, while also closing between 55 and 65 underperforming stores, according to an article from Bloomberg, which also referenced the chain moving its headquarters from Denver to Newport Beach, California. Coincidentally, the new office will be located just miles from Taco Bell’s headquarters.
"I can easily see a future where Chipotle more than doubles the business to $10 billion in revenue. We will execute flawlessly in our existing restaurants, add more high-performing restaurants, build brand relevance and engagement, expand digital capabilities for team members and customers, and build an organization with top tier talent that can win today and cultivate a better future," said Niccol.
Will that $10 billion future become a reality as Niccol continues to double down on his restrategizing prowess? Time will tell, and so will Deli Market News.