DENVER — Carnitas are making a comeback at Chipotle Mexican Grill, which announced it has restored most of its pork supply following a shortage earlier this year. The burrito chain said it is again serving the ingredient in 90% of its restaurants with plans to return to all of its restaurants by the end of November.
Chipotle had stopped serving carnitas in more than a third of its restaurants after suspending a pork supplier that was not meeting the chain’s animal welfare standards. Chipotle requires pigs are raised with access to outdoors or deeply bedded barns, without the use of antibiotics and no gestation crates.
The company said it has replenished its pork supply working with existing suppliers and adding a new partner, Karro Food, based in the United Kingdom.
“The decision to stop selling carnitas in many of our restaurants was an easy one,” said Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-chief executive officer 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.”
In the recent quarter, Chipotle reported slower same-store sales growth as a result of the pork shortage.“We had hoped that the shortage would encourage our (customers) to try another menu option, and some did, but many have decided to hold out until carnitas returns to their market,” said Jack Hartung, chief financial officer, during an April 21 earnings call with financial analysts.