Chipotle Mexican Grill tests spicy chicken al pastor in two markets

Chipotle Mexican Grill is testing Chicken Al Pastor

Source: Chipotle Mexican Grill

Chipotle Mexican Grill is cranking up the heat on its grilled chicken.

The restaurant chain said Tuesday it’s testing a new chicken al pastor menu item in 94 restaurants across the Denver and Indianapolis regions.

The al pastor option is spicier than Chipotle’s standard chicken option. It’s grilled and seasoned with a marinade of the chain’s signature adobo, morita peppers, ground achiote and a splash of pineapple.

It’s the second time in less than a year that the burrito chain has tried out a new chicken option. The nationwide launch of pollo asado in March was the first time since Chipotle’s founding that it offered another variation of chicken.

Its test of pollo asado resulted in feedback and sales that were on par with those for its smoked brisket, the chain’s bestselling new menu item in recent history. Chipotle doesn’t break out sales for individual menu items, but executives called the limited-time release of pollo asado a success.

Chipotle aims to announce additions to its menu two to three times a year, CEO Brian Niccol said on the company’s latest earnings call in late July. The chain is still known for its relatively short menu, but under Niccol, it has been branching out with limited-time items that draw customers to its restaurants. Before leading Chipotle, Niccol was chief executive of Taco Bell, which is owned by Yum Brands and known for its varied menu with many rotating options.

Chipotle’s next limited-time menu addition will likely be the Garlic Guajillo Steak, which passed Chipotle’s testing stage earlier this year.

Shares of Chipotle have fallen 6% this year, giving the company a market value of $45.5 billion.

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