Carne asada returns to Chipotle

The grilled steak is the chain’s best-selling LTO protein, and digital rewards members will get early access to it.
Carne Asada LTO
Photo courtesy of Chipotle

Chipotle Mexican Grill is bringing back its popular carne asada for a limited time, the chain announced Tuesday.

Carne asada was first introduce by the fast casual a year ago and it became Chipotle’s fastest-selling new protein launch ever—four times as popular as the chain’s previous protein LTO, the company said.

More than 10 million people tried carne asada during its first run. The chain estimates that half of those customers were first-time diners at Chipotle.

In reintroducing the protein option, Chipotle will also be trying to boost participation in its digital rewards program. Carne asada will first be made available only to Chipotle’s more than 16 million Rewards members through Wednesday. It will then be able to be ordered via the chain’s app and website from Thursday through Sunday. All customers will be able to get carne asada starting Monday. 

It will be available to order in restaurants and across all digital channels beginning Monday.

Chipotle’s carne asada is in limited supply because of the chain’s sourcing requirements. Just 5% of U.S. beef meets the chain’s sourcing requirements of no antibiotics or added hormones, the company said. Chipotle is in the midst of a year-long mission to partner with new farmers, ranchers and other suppliers who meet the chain’s “food with integrity” standards.

The protein is grilled in small batches, seasoned, sliced and finished with lime juice and cilantro. The carne asada is approved for Whole30 and is compliant with keto and paleo diets.

“To bring back carne asada to our menu, we underwent an extensive vetting process to find more suppliers that meet our stringent Food with Integrity standards,” CMO Chris Brandt said in a press release.

Carne asada is Chipotle’s first new protein addition since chorizo was added to the menu in 2018.

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