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Fast Food

Chipotle’s Quietly Testing Quesadillas In California

Photo by Foodbeast

If you’ve ever dreamed of being able to order a quesadilla at Chipotle, you can make it a reality in Southern California.

Spotted in Newport Beach, a quesadilla has been added to the menu, with your choice of just cheese, or any of the classic Chipotle meat offerings.

That means if you want that Chipotle barbacoa, steak, or even their sofritas in quesadilla form, it is finally possible.

 

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The casual Chipotle fan probably just did a double take and asked, “Wait, Chipotle didn’t already have quesadillas?”

It is true. The fast-casual restaurant is known for its burritos, burrito bowls, and even its tacos, but the kitchen set up wasn’t exactly primed for quesadillas.

Photo by Foodbeast

Now they seem to have incorporated a grill of sorts, that presses down on the quesadilla, giving its cheese the perfect ooze.

The Foodbeast crew went down to the Newport Beach location to investigate and can confirm that it’s on the menu, has signs promoting all over, and is as good as you’ve dreamt them to be.

 

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There were rumblings of Chipotle working on quesadillas last year, being spotted in at least their New York’s test kitchen, but now they’ve made their way out west, hopefully meaning there will be a much bigger roll out in the works.

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Fast Food Health What's New

Chipotle’s New Lifestyle Bowls Include A DOUBLE PROTEIN Option

The hardest part of a New Year’s resolution is sticking to it long term. I tell everyone I’m gonna switch to paleo, and end up back in the drive-thru chomping on fries within a week.

Luckily, there’s now a fast food option that can help us stick to a few of the more popular diets out there for as long as we can resist those temptations.

Chipotle is offering up a variety of Lifestyle Bowls, each one directed to a specific dietary lifestyle that people may be looking towards. It’s being launched in the New Year to go along with all of our resolutions, but a Chipotle rep has confirmed that this is a permanent addition to the menu.

In total, there’s four Lifestyle Bowls in the lineup, including the above Double Protein bowl. It comes loaded with full portions of steak and chicken, white rice, black beans, red salsa, romaine lettuce, and sour cream. Gains for days.

The other diet-friendly options are as follows:

Keto Salad Bowl: Heavy on the good fats and protein while light on the carbs, this comes with a base of romaine, carnitas, red salsa, cheese, and guac.

Paleo Salad Bowl: This lifestyle based on ancient diets comes loaded with veggies and protein. There’s romaine, fajita veggies, barbacoa, green salsa, and guacamole.

Whole30 Salad Bowl: A surefire way to survive your entire month on the Whole30 challenge. This bowl comes with romaine, carnitas, fajita veggies, tomato salsa, and guacamole.

If you’re taking on one of these diets and want to try one of the bowls out, they’re available by name on Chipotle’s app and via online ordering. In-store, you can use the builds above to create these for yourself.

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Fast Food What's New

Chipotle Now Lets You Order A HALF POUND Of Guac On The Side

When you think guacamole, the first fast food chain that comes to mind is most likely Chipotle. It’s their signature staple that’s helped them become the burrito giant they are today.

There’s now a guac option at Chipotle that takes their fan favorite item to the next level.

You’re now able to order an entire HALF POUND of it on the side.

For context, this is a visual of the chain’s standard portion:

And this is what a half pound of guacamole looks like:

Chipotle’s normal side of guac comes in at 4 ounces, so the new option is double that of what you normally get. According to a press release, it’s available both for online order or in-restaurant, and can be served on the side of your meal or with a large bag of chips.

Of course, guac is already extra at the custom burrito chain, so you know this gargantuan portion will come with a sizable price tag. But this is America, so we should be able to dump an entire half-pound container of it on our bowls or cram it into our burritos if we want to.

Photos courtesy of Chipotle.
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Fast Food Health Opinion Restaurants

Why We Should Hope Chipotle Succeeds Despite All Their Food Safety Issues

It’s hard for me to hate on Chipotle too much, to be perfectly honest. I have major respect for what the company has been trying to do in the world of fast food, as their mantra of fresh ingredients, built-to-order, and healthier options is something that the entire industry should move to. If they could just move past their food safety scandals, they would be the gold standard of what all of fast food should be.

No fast food chain has been beleaguered with food poisoning issues as much as Chipotle in recent years. They’ve gotten hundreds of people sick across multiple foodborne illness outbreaks. When they tried to correct the issue with retraining, the food safety mishaps continued.

Now, they’ve recently experienced their worst food poisoning fiasco of all time, almost right after they had brought in a new CEO and were looking to turn things around. It goes without saying, but Chipotle just can’t seem to catch a break with all of the scandal that has been linked to them.

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Still, Chipotle deserves more credit than the general public has been giving them. Yes, they  can’t keep a clean streak for more than a few months, but it’s because what they’re doing has been pushing the envelope in the fast food industry for nearly a decade.

Achieving the scale they have makes it a challenge to control food safety with even just processed ingredients on their own. Now imagine taking that same model and implementing it into a vast lineup of fresh ingredients and a restaurant chain where everything is made in-house. This includes cutting the vegetables, marinating the meats, shredding cheese, and making fresh batches of guac daily.

All of those fresh ingredients mean that a significant amount of prep is required, which opens up the chain to more food poisoning possibilities. If someone isn’t properly trained or deviates from a food safety plan, it opens up the gateway for people to get sick.

It’s impossible to be 100% perfect with food safety, even with Chipotle’s strict food handling procedures and quarterly retrainings (a new requirement for employees). Food contamination can start on the field, long before Chipotle has a chance to get its hands on it. Despite all of the technology the food industry has, it’s not possible to catch every pathogen before it gets to the consumer. This is especially true for fresh produce, where science has yet to figure out how to effectively kill bacteria without drastically altering food quality.

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And though it would seem outlandish to even surmise, some conspiracy theorists believe that Chipotle’s food safety issues could also potentially not be the company’s fault. These same individuals believe there may be a hidden force attempting to sabotage Chipotle. Theories of corporate influence have been floating around since 2015, suggesting that shareholders may have something to do with the poisonings so that they can profit via short stocks.

Some customers also believed that one outbreak could have been the work of Monsanto after Chipotle announced they would stop using GMOs. That particular scenario involved a “very rare” strain of E. Coli, according to the FDA, which led people to believe that Monsanto could have paid someone to target Chipotle in retaliation. To date, it’s never been proven if that was or wasn’t the case.

If these conspiracy theories are in fact true, it would mean that somebody had to have intentionally poisoned the food at multiple locations, which isn’t an out-of-the-question scenario. Folks have spiked food with toxins or bacteria in the past, including at grocery stores and in the salad bars of restaurants.

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I’m not suggesting that Chipotle is free of any fault when it comes to their food poisoning issues. Rather, they should still be held responsible because these illnesses still happened to their customers under their watch. Thus it’s imperative they still ramp up to stringent measures with their food handling programs and continually hold themselves accountable for what’s been going on.

Chipotle’s concerted and continued efforts to handle its food safety problems while persisting to be a cutting-edge model of what fast food should be still serves as an example to others in the industry. Their take on fresh ingredients, handmade products, and affordable pricing at that level of quality is commendable, and something we should be supporting despite the food poisonings.

No fast food chain has ever been willing to take on the same freshness and quality model Chipotle started out with and scale it to the size of a mega-corporation. The burrito giant took on the guinea pig role in testing out what we all want fast food to really be: fresh, fast, affordable, and tasty. Outside of the lingering safety issues (and their forgettable first run of queso), Chipotle has managed to do all of that.

Minus the food-borne illnesses, Chipotle is what the rest of fast food should be. As they work out the kinks in their food handling programs, we should continue to support them and allow them to become the gold standard the rest of the industry aspires to be. Only then can we possibly have a future of food that’s wholesome, nutritious, and delicious, even at its most basic level.

Categories
Fast Food Health News

Chipotle Is Retraining All Of Its Workers Following Latest Food Safety Incident

In the aftermath of Chipotle’s biggest food poisoning outbreak in history, the chain’s employees will be undergoing nationwide retraining on food safety, in an attempt to help the issue.

chipotle hid several foodborne illness outbreaks

The company’s most recent foodborne illness scare in Powell, Ohio, led to over 700 self-reported illnesses. According to Nation’s Restaurant News, local health department officials later confirmed the actual number of related cases to be 674, still the most ever for a single outbreak tied to Chipotle.

It took them a while to find the cause, but the culprit pathogen was discovered to be Clostridium perfringens, a bacteria that grows well in protein-rich environments and is a common sign of time and temperature abuse.

New Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol has since issued a statement announcing the nationwide retraining.

“While this incident impacted only one restaurant, Chipotle field leadership will be retraining all restaurant employees nationwide beginning next week on food safety and wellness protocols,” Niccol said.

These will include an expansion of those policies, including “a recurring employee knowledge assessment of our rigorous food safety standards,” according to the statement.

The last time Chipotle performed such a massive retraining was in early 2016, when every location nationwide closed for a few hours on one day to talk food safety. It is unclear whether a similar action will happen when the new training sessions begin next week.

Categories
Fast Food What's New

Chipotle Is Now Testing Out Bacon That Can Be Added To Anything On The Menu

Chipotle’s looking to add bacon to their menu as a brand new item. Not as a protein that can be treated like the many others they offer, but as a topping, like queso or guac, that you can add to just about anything on the menu.

Photo courtesy of Chipotle

This September, Chipotle will migrate its test of the Applewood Smoked Bacon out of its NEXT Kitchen in New York City and into Orange County, California. Eight restaurants there will sell bacon for a limited time as the chain considers whether or not to add it to the permanent menu nationwide.

Adding bacon could be more than just a new topping option for Chipotle, though. Since bacon is a meat that can be utilized for just about any meal, it opens up possibilities for the chain in categories they haven’t touched before.

One example of this is breakfast, something new CEO Brian Niccol has admitted to considering in the past. Bacon is one of the more common meats to go into breakfast burritos and quesadillas. If Chipotle chose to get into the morning meal game, those can be easy options to start with.

Until then, it’ll be another extra thing we can add onto our bowls or burritos along with guac and queso. But is this new move enough to sway the public’s falling perception of the much embattled franchise?

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Fast Food Health News

Chipotle’s Latest Food Poisoning Outbreak Is Its Worst One Yet

Chipotle has a lengthy history with food poisonings that date all the way back to 2008. Nearly a decade since that first incident, the company’s most recent outbreak is the worst to ever hit the fresh burrito chain.

Since July 26, over 700 cases of reported illnesses have been linked to a single Chipotle location, according to the Dayton Daily News. The store, located in Powell, OH, was closed immediately upon reports of a potential outbreak. They then enabled the chain’s food safety protocol before reopening, which included changing out the food and deep cleaning the entire place.

It’s still unknown what bacteria or pathogen caused the outbreak, and the source of it hasn’t been determined either. What we do know, though, is that no other outbreak connected to Chipotle has poisoned as many customers in a single instant.

The only other food poisoning outburst that came close, was all the way back in 2008, when over 400 customers contracted a strain of norovirus at a location near Kent State University. Coincidentally, that event also took place at a Chipotle restaurant in Ohio, although there’s likely no connection between the two given the time and changes the chain has implemented since then.

Still, an outbreak as massive as the one going on right now does call Chipotle’s new food safety protocol into question. To be fair, this is only the second massive food poisoning to occur since the new changes to their program came in late 2016. Still, more than 700 people getting sick from one single location is quite alarming.

Local health officials are still trying to determine the cause and source of the outbreak, but so far, common candidates like norovirus, Salmonella, and E. Coli have already been ruled out.

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Deals Fast Food

For One Day Only, Chipotle’s Guacamole Will Be FREE

If you hate forking over those extra couple bucks for Chipotle’s guacamole, you’re not alone. Though it’s brutal on your wallet, that creamy addition seems to always be worth it when stuffed inside that massive burrito.

On Tuesday, July 31, Chipotle’s blessing its customers with a free side of their prized guacamole, for National Guacamole Day.

All you have to do is order an entree online or through their app and you’ll qualify for the freebie.

It’s 2018, online ordering seems reasonable by now, right?

You can’t be too upset that you still have to purchase an entree, either. I mean, you need something to put the guac on, right?

 

 

This seems like an easy and effective way for Chipotle to get people to download their app. Such a strategy had been used recently by McDonald’s, giving customers free fries every week for a year, plus a sweet $1 burger deal, all for downloading their app.

Chipotle is deploying the same type of app strategy: all you have to do is set up an account, pick an entree, select guacamole or both chips and guac as an add-on, then checkout using the coupon code AVOCADO. You can only use the code once, so unless some glitch occurs, you won’t be able to walk out of Chipotle with an overabundance of guac.

Probably the nicest part of the deal is that you likely won’t have to wait in a crazy line since you’re ordering ahead through the app. Just pray that 100 other people don’t order at the same time as you, and you should be good to go.