Chipotle borrows menu idea from Taco Bell

If there’s one thing we’ve seen more of this year, it’s seasonal menus and limited-time promotions.

From the spring menu full of lighter items and plant-based meats at Peet’s Coffee to Strawberry Frosty than Wendy’s (MAGNIFYING GLASS) – Get the Wendy’s Company (The) report unveiled earlier this week, consumers have a lot of new choices and a limited time to get them.

The rotating menu filled with limited time offers is a trend that Yum! Brands (YUM) – Get yum! Report Brands Inc.owned by Taco Bell started and never quite ended.

Nacho fries, queso-wrapped chicken wings and the famous Mexican pizza are all fleeting dishes that are there one moment and gone the next.

Just last week, Brisk Dragon Paradise Sparkling Iced Tea was added to Taco Bell’s summer menu.

What’s new on the Chipotle menu?

Chipotle (GCM) – Get the Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. report. is known to have a much more stable menu than Taco Bell. In March 2022, it added a new chicken dish for the first time in the fast casual chain’s 29-year history.

Chipotle’s drink menu is one area where customers see a bit more fluctuation. It experimented with hard and soft options, and in 2020 partnered with agricultural beverage company Tractor to offer a rotating menu of lemonades and agua frescas.

This summer, Chipotle’s drink of the season will be Watermelon Limeade. The refreshing drink is similar to juice in that it is made from a mixture of watermelon, lime, and water.

Developed by Tractor farmers, it’s also certified organic and made with non-GMO ingredients. Prior to the national launch, Chipotle tested it in Atlanta, Kansas City and Orange County, California.

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“We are thrilled to introduce our first seasonal drink with the freshest flavors of summer,” said Stephanie Perdue, chief marketing officer at Chipotle, in a statement. “Consumer response to Watermelon Limeade has exceeded expectations as it quickly became our best-selling tractor drink in test markets last year.”

Chipotle’s permanent drink menu already includes Tractor Lemonade, Tangerine Agua Fresca, and Berry Agua Fresca that visitors refill from a dispenser.

Regular lemonade and black tea are also available in a bottle for the making.

“We’re thrilled to bring the artisanal flavor and all-natural ingredients of our Watermelon Limeade to Chipotle fans this summer, while working together to support the farmers who make all of our Certified Organic beverages possible,” Travis Potter, Co-Founder of Tractor Drink, said in a statement.

What’s next for Chipotle’s menu?

Introducing lemonade as their “first seasonal drink,” Chipotle hinted that others may eventually follow.

Overall, it has become more common in the industry to not only be in limited time promotions, but also in promotions specifically tied to a specific holiday or season.

Watermelon or, as Wendy’s did with its own summer menu, strawberries are obvious summer choices that allow the chain to introduce multiple items at once.

But sometimes the promotion is even more specific – in March, Coors Light TAP.A introduced beer-flavored lollipops for the March Madness basketball tournament while burger chain Shake Shack (SHAKE) – Get the Class A report from Shake Shack Inc. once had the “Wake And Shake” milkshake as a nod to 4/20.

This type of menu can help a chain generate buzz and create motivation for consumers.

That said, it’s also not uncommon for a seasonal product to see customers love seasonal products enough to demand them all year round.

Figures from market research firm Mintel revealed that 67% of customers had a seasonal product they wanted to be available all year round.

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