Chipotle is making plans to test out what customers have long been asking for -- the chain’s first ever drive-thru.
Tuesday, Chipotle executives announced they will be running a trial of a drive-thru option this fall at an undisclosed location in Ohio.
If all goes well, more Chipotle drive-thrus could be in the near future.
The move is part of Chipotle’s plan to improve its reputation and its customer experience. The company has experienced at least two years of financial slump after customers reported illnesses like norovirus and E. coli after eating at restaurant locations.
“We saw encouraging signs in our improved financial results during the first half of the year,” Chipotle CEO Steve Ells said in a news release. “Recent events, however, have shown that we still have a lot of opportunity to improve our operations and deliver the outstanding experience that our customers expect.”
Chipotle is currently testing a new queso offering, an avocado-citrus salad dressing, a dessert and a frozen margarita at the Chipotle NEXT Kitchen, a public test kitchen in New York City. The company is also considering price increases for menu items, but has met setbacks including an incident in which rodents were seen at a Chipotle restaurant in Dallas and a norovirus scare at a Virginia location.
Chipotle temporarily closed one of its restaurants in Sterling, Virginia, after an unspecified amount of customers reported illnesses with symptoms consistent with norovirus after eating food at the Mexican grill, The Associated Press reported.
According to the AP a “small number” of customers reported the illnesses.
Chipotle said the company planned to reopen the Virginia location the same day after completing a full sanitation of the restaurant.
Chipotle officials are working with health officials to discover the cause of the illnesses. Restaurant officials assured customers that norovirus does not come from its food supply.
Chipotle’s shares dropped more than six percent Tuesday as investors responded to the incident with concern.
Symptoms of norovirus include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhea.
In 2015, Chipotle’s revenue and reputation suffered after an E. coli outbreak at restaurants in nine states and a norovirus outbreak at a Boston location. Approximately 500 customers reported illnesses.
“We may be at a higher risk for food-borne illness outbreaks than some competitors due to our use of fresh produce and meats, rather than frozen, and our reliance on employees cooking with traditional methods rather than automation,” Chipotle officials said at the time.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, restaurant workers are often the source of norovirus outbreaks, as they often touch foods such as raw fruits and vegetables with their bare hands before serving them.
In 2016, Chipotle shut down all locations for a day retrain employees on food safety.
Chick-fil-A has begun testing family style meals in three U.S. cities with plans to continue the offerings through November.
The Family Style Meals include one entrée, two sides and eight mini rolls with the option to add additional entrees, sides and beverages.
The meals, which are served with plates, utensils and condiments, are made to serve up to four people.
“Our customers told us that they wanted an even more convenient way to share meals at home or on the go, so we worked directly with a group of parents to design every part of Family Style Meals -- down to the cutlery caddy that features five unique conversation starter questions to help customers connect over mealtime,” Matt Abercrombie, Chick-fil-A manager of menu development, said in a news release. “Mealtime should be an enjoyable experience that brings family and friends together, not an extra stress in the day.”
Customers can choose one of four entrees -- 12 Chick-n-Strips, four Original Chick-fil-A Chicken Breasts, 30 Chick-fil-A Nuggets or four Grilled Chicken Breasts -- and two of six sides, including baked beans, waffle potato chips, fruit cup, macaroni and cheese and side salad.
The Family Style Meals are being sold for $29.99 in Greensboro, North Carolina, Phoenix, Arizona, and San Antonio, Texas, until November 18.
“We heard that for a lot of people who are in charge of planning dinner, it’s really not that enjoyable,” Abercrombie said, according to Business Insider. “Some parents said ‘I don’t even eat until after my family is fed.’ That was a really big ‘aha!’ for us.”
Chick-fil-A is testing the options in an effort to determine whether the Family Style Meals are to be offered in other cities. The company is also using the time to decide whether it will offer beans and macaroni and cheese as permanent side items.
The beans are kettle-cooked with bacon and brown sugar. The mac and cheese is made of a blend of cheddar, parmesan and romano cheeses.
Read more at Chick-fil-A.
An American cheeseburger, weighing 1,794 pounds, has just become the world’s largest commercially sold burger.
Mallie’s reclaimed the title Monday after creating a super-sized hamburger with 300 pounds of cheese and 250 pounds of pickles, according to WXYZ.
This beefy meal, which stands 3 feet high, was made “in memory of his wife Renee who died from breast cancer, and as a birthday gift to his two daughters,” WXYZ reported.
“It's a lifetime memory for them. I mean how many kids get to get an 1,800-pound hamburger on their birthday?” Steve Mallie told WXYZ.
If you’re getting hungry reading this, you can order the burger for a small fee of $7,799.
Read more at WXYZ.
According to Eater, Chipotle is unveiling its only public-facing test kitchen in New York on Monday, called Chipotle NEXT Kitchen. On deck: a classic margarita and virgin strawberry variety, a salad with avocado citrus dressing and queso.
That’s right. Queso, which the Mexican fast casual chain just previously said would not appear on its menu anytime soon due to the artificial ingredients needed to make the liquid gold suitable for a service line. That cheesy dip is the most requested item that’s not on Chipotle’s menu, Eater New York reported. In a Chipotle internal memo quoted by Eater, the restaurant’s CEO, Steve Ells, told employees Monday that the lack of queso has lead to lost business.
To be clear: This does not mean that queso is headed to your local Chipotle, as it’s currently only available at the test kitchen. However, if you’ve held your queso dreams close to your burrito-eating heart, it’s certainly cause for optimism.
In response to customer requests, Chick-fil-A announced the addition of a new gluten-free bun option to its menu, making it one of the first fast food restaurants to offer the item.
The 150-calorie bun, made with premium ingredients like quinoa and amaranth and lightly sweetened with molasses and raisins, is now available in restaurants nationwide, according to a company news release.
It comes individually packaged and can be ordered with any Chick-fil-A sandwich for an additional $1.15.
The company tested the option in three U.S. cities in 2016 and found the bun to be the most commonly ordered item with the grilled chicken sandwich and grilled chicken deluxe sandwich.
“Our hope is that the gluten-free bun addition opens up options for gluten-sensitive customers to enjoy more of our menu, Leslie Neslage, senior consultant of menu development at Chick-fil-A, said.
Gluten-free items are most commonly consumed by people with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder in which the body mistakenly reacts to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, as if it were a poison.
A 27-year-old woman suffered second- and third-degree burns after the flaming queso she ordered in May at a Mexican restaurant in Cedar Park, Texas, blew up in her face, according to a lawsuit.
The woman sued Dos Salsas and its manager, William Plata. Plata could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday.
The woman, an Austin resident, was eating at the restaurant on May 20 with her family when the incident happened, said her lawyer, Adam Loewy.
She ordered an appetizer called “Quesos Flameados,” the lawsuit said.
The waitress serving the dish at the restaurant usually brings it to the table already on fire and sprays a chemical on it that makes the flames go straight up, Loewy said. That didn’t happen in this case, he said. A waitress brought it out and sprayed the chemical but instead of going up, the fire “went sideways and engulfed (the victim) in flames,” he said.
The woman who was burned dived to the ground and her family doused her with water, Loewy said. She was burned on her face, chest, neck and arms and was taken to a burn unit in San Antonio, he said.
The victim, who works in the insurance business, has been unable to return to work but has been released from the hospital, Loewy said. He said she will need plastic surgery.
The victim is suing the restaurant and its manager for more than $1 million.
“I think this is the height of negligence they would have a dish like this in which they have no fire training for the waitress,” said Loewy. “I think the evidence will show something like this was bound to happen.”
The lawsuit was filed Friday.
For five days only, Starbucks stores nationwide offered a unique beverage dubbed the Unicorn Frappuccino, a colorful pink and purple drink with sweet and sour flavors and sent customers into a frenzy.
A little more than a month later, the coffee giant has introduced the Ombre Pink Drink.
According to Starbucks, the beverage is “combines (the) light, fruity Cool Lime Starbucks Refreshers Beverage with cool, creamy coconut milk and a splash of Teavana Shaken Iced Passion Tango Tea, for a bright burst of hibiscus notes.”
The Ombre Pink Drink will be added to Starbucks’ year-round menu, Delish reported.
Here’s what it looks like:
A grande serving of the beverage has 100 calories, 2.5 grams of fat and 18 grams of sugar.
Starbucks added a similarly named offering, the Pink Drink, a combination of Strawberry Acai Refreshers with passion fruit and acai flavors, coconut milk and strawberries to the menu in April.
Maddi Runkles is a senior at The Heritage Academy in Hagerstown, Maryland.
With a 4.0 grade point average, athletics commitments and a leadership role in the school’s Key Club, she was all set to graduate this spring.
Then came her son, Grayson.
Runkles learned she was pregnant in January. The Heritage Academy, a conservative Christian school, considers premarital sex a violation of its code of conduct, as do many institutions with similar values.
Despite the fact that she attends a Christian school, she said she considered an abortion. A 2014 study found that nearly 60 percent of women who have abortions identify as Catholic or Protestant.
“I had worked so hard for (graduation), and I made one mistake, and all my hard work was being taken away from me,” she told WUSA-9.
WUSA-9 reported that she was first removed from her position on the student council and suspended for two days. She was also told that she’d be forced to finish the school year at home, by herself.
But that changed when a group of students and parents petitioned the school to allow her to finish the year.
“I mean, all I did that was wrong was just have sex before marriage, which they don’t agree with,” said Runkles, who said carrying the child was“the right decision.”
That’s not how her high school sees it. Principal Dave Hobbs planned to tell the entire school about her pregnancy and resulting suspension, according to Students for Life, an anti-abortion group that’s gotten involved on her behalf.
When interviewed, Hobbs said the school’s code of conduct is applied on a case-by-case basis, but that the school has already been generous in allowing Runkles to finish her school year on the premises.
Her father, Scott Runkles, said he resigned from his position as a member of the school’s board because of how his daughter was treated.
Read more at WUSA-9.
Thousands of students graduated this past weekend from the University of Texas at Austin, flooding social media with photos of proud new alumni and their families.
For most parents, documenting the occasion with a photo means throwing up the “Hook ’em Horns” hand sign, too, usually without much fuss. But when your parents are the first couple of televangelism, a spirited hand gesture can take on a whole other meaning.
Joel Osteen and his wife, Victoria, draw thousands every week to their massive Lakewood Church in Houston, and millions tune in from across the globe to watch. The pair also head a massive multi-million dollar empire stemming from book deals and tours. Their son, Jonathan, recently graduated from UT, and he posed with each of his parents for a pretty common photo taken during commencement weekend: the graduate and his mom and dad both making the “Hook ’em Horns” hand sign.
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