Monday, September 28, 2015

Carnitas Returns to 90% of Chipotle Restaurants (Including DMV)

From our friends at Chipotle Mexican Grill...

New Supplier Enables Chipotle to Return Popular Menu Item to Restaurants Around the Country

Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) today announced that it has restored most of its pork supply and is again serving carnitas in 90 percent of its restaurants. The company expects to have carnitas back in all of its restaurants by the end of November.

Chipotle stopped serving carnitas at more than a third of its restaurants earlier this year after it suspended one of its primary pork suppliers when routine auditing found inconsistencies between the supplier's operations and Chipotle's pork protocol. Chipotle's high standards require that pigs are raised with access to the outdoors or deeply bedded barns, without the use of antibiotics, and with no gestation crates. These practices are in stark contrast with how pigs are conventionally raised, so Chipotle opted to pull carnitas from hundreds of restaurants rather than compromise its commitment to animal welfare.

"The decision to stop selling carnitas in many of our restaurants was an easy one," said Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO at Chipotle. "We simply will not compromise our high standards for animal welfare. Since making this decision, we have heard from thousands of our customers who have expressed support for our decision, and commended us for standing on principle. Now, we are excited to have carnitas back in nearly all of our restaurants, and want to thank our customers for their patience while we worked to address this issue."

Carnitas is now available at all Chipotle locations in the U.S. with the exception of restaurants in the Cleveland and Atlanta areas, and in North Carolina and South Carolina. Chipotle has been able to replenish its pork supply working with existing suppliers and by adding a new partner, United Kingdom-based Karro Food. Karro produces delicious pork from pigs raised to Chipotle's high standards for animal welfare.

While Chipotle continues to prefer domestic sources for all of its meat, conventionally raised pork in the U.S. does not meet the company's high standards for animal welfare. Pigs raised conventionally are raised indoors, in densely crowded conditions with little or no bedding. Most live on slatted metal floors that allow their waste to collect beneath them in liquefied pools. Mother pigs are often kept for months at a time in metal crates so small that they cannot turn around, and copious quantities of antibiotics are used to keep the animals from getting sick in these conditions. When faced with the choice between serving conventional pork in some of its restaurants or nothing at all, Chipotle chose not to serve carnitas in hundreds of its restaurants rather than compromising its standards.

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Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO, started Chipotle with the idea that food served fast did not have to be a typical fast-food experience. Today, Chipotle continues to offer a focused menu of burritos, tacos, burrito bowls (a burrito without the tortilla) and salads made from fresh, high-quality raw ingredients, prepared using classic cooking methods and served in a distinctive atmosphere.

Through our vision of Food With Integrity, Chipotle is seeking better food from using ingredients that are not only fresh, but that - where possible - are sustainably grown and raised responsibly with respect for the animals, the land and the farmers who produce the food. In order to achieve this vision, we focus on building a special people culture that is centered on creating teams of top performers empowered to achieve high standards. This people culture not only leads to a better dining experience for our customers, it also allows us to develop future leaders from within. Chipotle opened with a single restaurant in 1993 and operates more than 1,850 restaurants, including its restaurants outside the U.S. and 11 ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen restaurants, and is an investor in an entity that owns and operates three Pizzeria Locale restaurants. For more information, visit