Chipotle Mexican Grill said it will maintain the test of its new lower-priced menu items at the current single-market extent, though “we are seeing some encouraging signs,” co-CEO Steve Ells told financial analysts Wednesday. One of the more reassuring finds of the Denver sales trial, he explained, was the effect on check averages: Customers tended to spend the same amount, even though they could trade down to less-expensive options.
Co-tested with those value-oriented selections was a kids’ menu. “We have seen enough demand for our kids menu that we plan to test that part of the menu in all of our Salt Lake City restaurants as well,” Ells said.
CFO John Hartung noted that at least half of Chipotle’s new stores in 2010 will be conversions rather than newly built outlets.