Chipotle Mexican Grill has long promoted the fact that the ingredients in its menu items are "naturally raised," even organic when possible. Now, the quick-serve restaurant will expand that reach as company officials say they plan to serve more than 52 million pounds of naturally raised meat in 2008, a 40 percent increase from 2007.
Today, Chipotle has nearly 700 restaurants, all of which serve naturally raised pork. As for other meats, 80 percent serve naturally raised chicken and 50 percent serve naturally raised beef. The company's goal is to eventually serve only naturally raised meat at all of its locations.
"We are educating our customers about the tastes and benefits of eating fresh, naturally raised foods," says Steve Ells, Chipotle's founder, chief executive officer. "The more they come to appreciate these better foods, the more they are going to want them from others."
Among Chipotle's suppliers to provide naturally raised proteins include Townsend, Bell & Evans, Niman Ranch, Harris Ranch, Coleman Natural and Montana Legend.