Chipotle’s widely reported battle with E. coli, norovirus and salmonella doesn’t appear to be over.
During a Tuesday earnings call with investors, the chain’s Co-Chief Executive Steve Ells reported that same-store restaurant sales dropped over 21 for the quarter (lower than analysts' expectations) and revenue continued to fall almost 15 percent year-over-year, reports the Wall Street Journal.
“While we’re on the road to recovery, we’re not satisfied,” Ells told investors on Tuesday.
The chain has already implemented new food handling procedures, introduced a temporary rewards program and added a new meat to the menu. But, according to Ells, chorizo (which now account for 7 percent of all entrée sales) is just one of the new ideas on Chipotle’s horizon.
Here are a few things we might be seeing from Chipotle next year:
Bring on the sweet stuff.
"We’re also currently testing two different desserts, and we hope to select one to offer in the near future,” Ells told investors. Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold would not provide any additional details to FoxNews.com as to what those desserts might be but in the past, Ells has reportedly laughed at the idea of adding sweets to the menu.
Chorizo is a great compliment to eggs but Ells said restaurants would likely have a lot of work to do from an efficiency standpoint to make this happen. Plus, when the chain tried limited breakfast trials at select locations, they apparently didn’t live up to expectations. Still, the CEO said not to take morning meals off the table.
Shiny new restaurants.
Chipotle’s older restaurants have a signature look but it’s now testing a new interior concept that it hopes will improve customer flow, provide better seating options and change how customers view the kitchen. The chain plans to open somewhere between 195 and 210 restaurants in 2017 (far less aggressive than in previous years).
Chipotle is already available through local delivery apps like Postmates but Ells said the company will soon unveil a tablet-based system which allows customers to order their food in the restaurant, without waiting in line. They’re also adding a new digital ordering platform—which they say isn’t an app—that will make it easier to order burritos and bowls from anywhere.
Digital orders currently account for just 6 percent of all orders.
Burgers are in, Asian is out.
Unless you live in Washington, D.C., chances are you’ve never eaten at a ShopHouse. And now you may never get to experience the Southeast-Asian inspired Chipotle concept. Ells says the company will no longer invest in its curry bowl counterpart, saying the brand has not "demonstrated the ability" to show meaningful growth since it opened in 2011.
But the company isn’t just sticking to its burritos. They are forging ahead with Tasty Made, a new fast-casual burger concept and Pizzeria Locale, the Italian focused eatery. Ells said these companies have “broad customer appeal.”