Chipotle is expecting to run out of its popular new meat dish, carne asada , late next month or in early December — but it's not worried, the marinated steak has served its purpose.
The company rolled out the dish, a limited time offering, in September in an effort to drive excitement around its brand, boost sales and bring more people into its stores. Apparently it worked.
"We only have enough supply for carne asada to last us for part of the quarter" John Hartung, the company's chief financial officer, said during an analyst call discussing third quarter earnings on Tuesday. "We think we'll probably run out around the end of November, maybe into early December."
The dish is Chipotle's first new meat offering since it reintroduced chorizo in 2018.
"By all accounts, we're delighted with what carne asada is doing for the business," CEO Brian Niccol said during the call. "And the feedback we're getting for consumers, both new users and existing consumers, is they love the product."
Niccol said that the steak contributed to the Chipotle's good financial results. Sales at stores open at least 13 months spiked 11%, and revenue jumped 14.6% to $1.4 billion in the third quarter.
The effort showed that "we also now have a muscle where we can do new product innovation," he added.
Ideally, people who visit Chipotle for carne asada will want to come back even when the item is off the menu. And it may be good for business to keep the dish as a limited run — the steak used in the product is expensive.
In addition to innovating its menu, Chipotle is also trying to make it easier for customers to get their food faster. One method is through it's so-called Chipotlanes — drive-thru lanes for customers who place mobile orders.