- Chipotle added the Fajita Quesadilla to its menu last month, inspired by a viral TikTok menu hack.
- During the launch, quesadilla sales nearly doubled and Chipotle had two of its best-ever digital sales days.
- Because it uses existing ingredients, the dish was “really easy” to introduce, its CEO said.
Chipotle said that the launch of its new TikTok-inspired Fajita Quesadilla has led to two of its most successful sales days in the digital arm of its business.
The new dish, which it added to its permanent menu in March, is currently available to order via its app and website. It is inspired by a menu “hack” of adding fajita veggies to its steak quesadilla that went viral on TikTok in 2022.
Influencer Alexis Frost posted a video reviewing the combination, which she said tasted like a Philly cheesesteak. Adding fajita veggies – pepper and onion – to a quesadilla was not previously an option at Chipotle.
Fellow influencer Keith Lee then tried out Frost’s menu hack but dipped it in a “Chipotle Ranch” sauce he made by mixing the chain’s honey vinaigrette dressing with sour cream.
The videos quickly took off. Chipotle responded by updating its menu to allow customers to add fajita veggies for free to any quesadilla, as well as letting them select the honey vinaigrette dressing as a side to go with it.
“The results have been outstanding,” CEO Brian Niccol said during the company’s first-quarter earnings call on Tuesday. “During the launch, we nearly doubled our Quesadilla business and had two of our top digital sales days of all time.”
Chipotle is on the lookout for other “hidden gems”
Gen Z diners in particular are pulled in by influencer marketing and like to try menu items they feel are new, exclusive, and customizable – fast-food execs say.
One way restaurant chains are profiting from this is by adding viral TikTok meal hacks to their menus, which allow them to combine existing menu items and ingredients they already have in their kitchens to make dishes that appear new to customers. Starbucks, for example, tested adding some viral drinks to its menu that are based on existing beverages with extra modifications.
Because the Fajita Quesadilla is simply made of items already on Chipotle’s menu, it “limits additional complexity in our restaurants,” Niccol told investors.
“This was a really easy one for operators to execute,” he added. Niccol said that Chipotle’s team was looking for other ways to promote similar “hidden gems” within the chain’s menu.
The menu hack is also helping drive more people to Chipotle’s loyalty program, Niccol said. This is because customers can only order quesadillas from Chipotle when they order on its app or website, and it’s the same for the new fajita veggie quesadillas.
During Tuesday’s earnings call, Niccol also spoke about other ways Chipotle had been changing the company’s operations, including installing faster-cooking grills and introducing digital tipping. The company’s total first-quarter revenues increased 17.2% to $2.4 billion, which it attributed partly to a slate of recent restaurant openings.
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