Chipotle hit its staff with this surprising request after the launch of a hot new item

Michael Rivera, CC BY-SA 4.0,, via Wikimedia Commons

Chipotle is famous for its massive burritos that are filled to the brim with fresh toppings.

The chain keeps its menu simple but when it releases a new item fans flock in.

And Chipotle hit its staff with this surprising request after the launch of a hot new item.

Chipotle brings back its beloved Chicken al Pastor and then warns employees not to eat it

Chipotle Mexican Grill helped create the trend of fast casual restaurants that are a notch above fast food that focus on fresh ingredients and made-to-order meals.

The chain’s menu has mostly stayed the same over the years with a focus on burritos, bowls, and salads.

When Chipotle debuted its Chicken al Pastor in March 2023 it immediately became a fan favorite.

Inspired by the Mexican cooking method, it featured tender grilled chicken marinated in morita peppers and ground achiote, with a splash of pineapple and lime, and topped with hand-chopped cilantro.

The blend of sweet and heat made it the most popular limited-release item in the chain’s history.

Chipotle brought back the Chicken al Pastor for another limited time run beginning in March.

And the company noted that there were three times as many requests to bring it back on social media than any other limited edition item the chain had released in its history.

“About one in five transactions included Chicken al Pastor when it was featured on our menu last year,” Chipotle Chief Brand Officer Chris Brandt said. “Given the performance and the fans wanting its return so enthusiastically, we are thrilled to make this the fastest item to ever come back to Chipotle.”

The demand was so overwhelming for the return of Chicken al Pastor that Chipotle requested its crew members not to eat it in their meals because of supply shortages.

“Due to its sustained strong sales we need your help to keep up with our guests’ demand for this popular protein option,” Chief Restaurant Officer Scott Boatwright wrote in an internal company email.

Store managers were ordered not to allow crew members to pick it for their discounted meals.

When Bloomberg News reached out to Chipotle, the chain admitted it was asking its employees to temporarily sacrifice.

“Due to the high demand for chicken in our restaurants and sustained success of our limited time offer Chicken al Pastor, we temporarily asked all of our employees at corporate and in-restaurants to select another protein option for their meals to preserve our supply,” Chief Corporate Affairs and Food Safety Officer Laurie Schalow said. “We expect this situation to be resolved within a week.”

Chipotle relents and allows its employees to order Chicken al Pastor

Bloomberg reported that many of the chain’s employees were unhappy with the request and that managers were upset about being put in the position where they had to tell them not to order it.

“It’s disrespectful, just on a personal level,” Chipotle employee Harper McNamara said.

Chipotle eventually relented claiming that the supply issues for Chicken al Pastor were resolved.

The Chicken al Pastor is so popular that the company’s CEO credited it for increasing sales on an earnings call.

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