Chicken Back on Menu for Chipotle Workers amid Surging Sales

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On Chipotle’s recent announcement, after requesting their extensive workforce stationed across the United States and Canada to fill their meal trays with proteins other than chicken, the coast is now clear for employees to go back to their favorite poultry once more. The initial directive was aimed to protect the company’s chicken inventory, encompassing workers across all levels, from restaurant floor staff to the upper echelons of corporate governance.

Based in the scenic seaside city of Newport Beach, California, Chipotle commands a massive force of over 114,000 workers spanning two countries — the U.S. and Canada. However, the tide has certainly turned last Thursday. Laurie Schalow, the individual responsible for steering the Mexican-cuisine chain’s corporate and food safety operations, announced that the chicken-free directive for employee meals had been lifted. Henceforth, they can return to relishing chicken as part of their meal options.

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In her public statement, Schalow clarified, “We are not witnessing any chicken shortage at our eateries. Last week, we momentarily necessitated our workforce to opt for non-chicken items for their meals so we could retain ample chicken supplies for our esteemed patrons, courtesy of our robust sales. However, employees are now free to indulge in their regular chicken-inclusive meals.”

An offering that had garnered considerable attention was Chipotle’s chicken al pastor. Launched initially in March of 2023, it was a succulent recipe featuring chicken marinated in delectable morita peppers, grounded achiote, and a hint of pineapple. Its popularity skyrocketed so much that it accounted for one-fifth of all orders recorded by Chipotle. However, to the dismay of many, it was dismissed from the menu in August of the same year.

This offering’s relaunch in March, albeit for a limited time, managed to garner heavy footfall across its network of 3,371 U.S. stores and 66 international setups — a fact verified during a recent investor conference call by Chipotle.

The first quarter of the year, between January and March, saw a notable uptick in the fast-food chain’s revenue. A total of $2.7 billion, marking a 14% increase, was recorded. Similarly, the sales from their year-old restaurants, referred to as ‘same-store’ sales, also showed an impressive 7% surge.

Chipotle’s drive-thru was majorly impacted by the re-troduction of chicken al pastor, according to Brian Niccol, Chipotle’s chairman and CEO. Enthusiasts of the popular dish, both seasoned and new, frequented the eatery more often. As a result, the customer inflow significantly increased, and regulars were more motivated to stop by frequently.

However, all good things must come to an end. Chipotle’s Chief Financial Officer, Jack Hartung, alarmed chicken al pastor fans last Thursday with plans to terminate the dish from the menu during the third quarter of this year.

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Melinda Cochrane is a poet, teacher and fiction author. She is also the editor and publisher of The Inspired Heart, a collection of international writers. Melinda also runs a publishing company, Melinda Cochrane International books for aspiring writers, based out Montreal, Quebec. Her publication credits include: The art of poetic inquiry, (Backalong Books), a novella, Desperate Freedom, (Brian Wrixon Books Canada), and 2 collections of poetry; The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat, (Backalong Books), and She’s an Island Poet, Desperate Freedom was on the bestseller's list for one week, and The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat is one of hope and encouragement for all those living in the social welfare system. She’s been published in online magazines such as, (regular writer for) ‘Life as a Human’, and Shannon Grissom’s magazine.