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Chipotle Borrows a Menu Idea From Taco Bell

The chain has a new limited-time-offer you’re going to be excited about.

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The chain has a new limited-time-offer you're going to be excited about.

If there's one thing we've been seeing 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 the strawberry Frosty that Wendy's  (WEN) - Get Wendy's Company (The) Report unveiled earlier this week, consumer have a lot of new choices and a limited amount of time to get them.

The rotating menu full of limited-time offers is a trend that Yum! Brands  (YUM) - Get Yum! Brands Inc. Report-owned Taco Bell started and never fully ended.

Nacho Fries, queso-coated chicken wings and the famous Mexican pizza are all fleeting items that are there one moment and gone the next.

Just last week, the Brisk Dragon Paradise Sparkling Iced Tea was brought in for Taco Bell's summer menu.

What's New on the Chipotle Menu?

Chipotle  (CMG) - Get 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 entrée for the first time in the fast casual chain's 29-year history.

One area in which customers see a bit more fluctuation is common is Chipotle's drinks menu — it experimented with both hard and soft options and, in 2020, partnered with farmer drink company Tractor to bring a rotating menu of lemonades and agua frescas.

This summer, Chipotle's seasonal beverage will be the Watermelon Limeade. The refreshing beverage resembles a juice in that it is made from mixing watermelon, lime and water.

Developed by the farmers at Tractor, it is also certified to be organic and made of non-GMO ingredients. Prior to the nationwide launch, Chipotle tested it in Atlanta, Kansas City and Orange County, California.

Chipotle

"We're thrilled to introduce our first seasonal beverage with the freshest flavors of summer," Stephanie Perdue, Chipotle's head of marketing, said in a statement. "The consumer response to Watermelon Limeade surpassed expectations as it quickly became our bestselling Tractor Beverage in test markets last year."

Chipotle's permanent drink menu already includes Tractor's Lemonade, Mandarin Agua Fresca and Berry Agua Fresca that visitors fill up from a dispenser.

The regular lemonade and black tea are also available bottled for carrying out.

"We're thrilled to bring the handcrafted flavor and entirely natural ingredients of our Watermelon Limeade to Chipotle's fans this summer, while working together to support the farmers who make all of our certified organic drinks possible," Travis Potter, co-founder of Tractor Beverage, said in a statement.

What's Next for Chipotle's Menu?

Presenting the limeade as their "first seasonal beverage," Chipotle hinted that others may eventually follow. 

Overall, it has become more common in the industry to being in not just limited-time promotions but ones that are 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 several items at once.

But sometimes, the promotion is even more specific — in March, Coors Light TAP.A introduced beer-flavored lollipops for the basketball play-off tournament March Madness while burger chain Shake Shack  (SHAK) - Get Shake Shack Inc. Class A Report once had the "Wake And Shake" milkshake in a nod to 4/20.

This type of menu can help a chain drive up buzz and create a get-it-before-its-gone motivation for consumers. 

That said, it's also not uncommon for a seasonal product to see customers like seasonal products enough to demand them year-round.

Numbers from market research firm Mintel found that 67% of customers had a seasonal product that they wanted to see available all year.

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