Earlier this year, in the midst of a series of serious health scares, Chipotle announced two new initiatives that would hopefully rescue the company’s slumping revenue: a rewards plan called “Chiptopia,” and a new meat option in chorizo. This week, both of those promises came to fruition, and the burrito king’s stock rose on Wednesday by 4.5 percent.
Chipotle—which recently fell to America’s ninth favorite fast-food chain, according to a report from the American Customer Satisfaction Index—faces a long road ahead. The idea is to win back customers' loyalty bit by bit with the spicy, Spanish sausage, the company's first new edition in roughly two years. And while ingredients are a touchy subject at the restaurant chain, where a massive E. coli outbreak swept through locations in 14 states, the response so far could be described best as cautious optimism.
On social media, many customers are freaking out over the addition in classic Chipotle fan fashion, though a few lingering pessimists continue to question the chain’s ability to properly cook the pork.
Still, while fans are clearly excited for the addition, Chipotle's chorizo has already been panned by certain critics. Eater's Robert Sietsema and Ryan Sutton found that the burrito chain's take on the Spanish sausage tasted like trash during a testing this week.
"Chipotle, against all odds, found the 1 percent of chorizo that tastes like garbage," the pair wrote. "Though calling it chorizo is a stretch: I didn't detect any of the luscious fats or oils I typically expect in good 'street cart' chorizo during a Manhattan taste test. Instead I sampled a product that looked and tasted heavily like bland chicken breast mixed with a cheap supermarket 'dry taco seasoning mix.'"
Still Chipotle believes its chorizo—which the chain says is made with pork, white-meat chicken, paprika, toasted cumin, and chipotle peppers, not dry taco seasoning—will be a game-changer moving forward.
"Since we opened the first Chipotle 23 years ago, our menu has changed very little, and our focus has been on constantly improving the quality and taste of the food we serve,” Steve Ells, the company's founder and co-CEO, said in a statement. “While we have never been opposed to changing our menu, we only do so when we think there’s an opportunity to add something that is really unique but that fits within our overall menu, and where we can find ingredients that meet our high standards.”