The Team Chipotle Menu, which was launched on the Newport Beach, Calif.-based company's app and website last June, featured bowls customized by athletes like WNBA star Nneka Ogwumike and Olympic rock climber Brooke Raboutou.
What Do Olympians Order At Chipotle?
This time, the bowls will include winter athletes like Hailey Langland, Red Gerard, Kendall Coyne Schofield, Hilary Knight, Jessie Diggins, and Charlie McAvoy. Soccer player Alex Morgan and Pittsburgh Steeler receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster also have their own bowl.
This is a way for the company to drive visitors to its online site and have customers connect over the athletes' personal eating preferences — the Alex Morgan Bowl features plant-based chorizo, cilantro-Lime white rice, beans, and veggies while the Kendall Coyne Schofield Bowl comes with chicken, rice, tomato salsa, and sour cream but no cheese.
"What's your Chipotle order?" Diggins asks in an Instagram post promoting the menu.
The new menu items are also accompanied by new episodes of the brand's "Unwrapped" series featuring stories of these athletes' sports careers.
"Our Team Chipotle menu and Unwrapped series give fans an intimate look into how top U.S. winter athletes prepare for elite competitions," CMO Chris Brandt said in a statement first reported by FastCasual. "Through this access, we hope Chipotle fans can connect with these athletes' stories and be proud to watch them compete later this winter."
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Expanding Chipotle's Online Presence
Available exclusively on Chipotle.com and the fast-casual restaurant's mobile app, the limited-edition items are part of a long-running strategy to drive more Chipotle orders online. In November, the restaurant set up its first digital-only store in a New York City suburb — with no dining room or service line, the space is there exclusively for picking up what was ordered online.
Aggressive promoting of the mobile app, an increase of drive-thru services like Chipotlanes and an expanded online rewards program have all helped bring in business. Numbers show that stores with Chipotlanes sold on average 18% to 20% more than stores without them in 2020.
Brian Niccol, who took over as chief executive in 2018 as the company was just emerging out of a reputation shattered by an e.coli crisis, has been on a path to not only change Chipotle's image but also bring in business through an online transformation.
"We remain confident in our key growth strategies and believe they will help us achieve our next goal of $3 million average unit volumes with industry-leading returns on invested capital that improve, as we continue to add Chipotlanes," Niccol said during a June earnings call.
Is This Helping Chipotle Stock?
The online-forward strategy has generally boded well for Chipotle, whose stock rose by 8.75% in the past year while digital sales rose 202.5% year-over-year in the third quarter.
Certain successes have been a result of efficient pick-up options as the COVID-19 pandemic first descended onto the U.S. — the loyalty program's membership jumped to 17 million in months when dining rooms first closed in 2020.
In the last six months, it's been on a hiring spree after raising the wages of its workers to average out $15 an hour. But, in 2021, the company also named the higher wages as well as inflation and rising food costs as reasons for raising its average menu item price by 4%.
"The long-term picture for same-store sales is better than it ever has been with an increasing mix of sustainable digital sales," Stephens analyst James Rutherford said in a note announcing a raised share price to investors last summer.
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