Chipotle Mexican Grill will launch its queso blanco on Thursday as a replacement for its current version of the cheese sauce as the restaurant chain tries to find a recipe that will better resonate with consumers.
Queso blanco marks the third new national menu addition under CEO Brian Niccol. He took the helm in 2018 and had been chief executive at Taco Bell, which is known for its creative menu.
So far, Chipotle has had some luck with the new items: Its carne asada protein option surpassed Chipotle's sales expectations, and the company is trying to find a stable supply of the limited-time item so it can be offered permanently.
But it has struggled to get its queso right. Chipotle released queso nationwide in September 2017 to tepid reviews. Several months later, it rolled out a revamped version, but the company kept working to create an even better version.
The new cheese dip is made with Monterey Jack and white cheddar cheeses and serrano, poblano and chipotle peppers. The chain has been testing the replacement queso since late July in Dallas, Detroit and San Diego. The previous cheese sauce was a yellow queso with aged cheddar, tomatillos, tomatoes and several pepper varieties.
Chipotle plans to introduce one to two menu items per year. The company is testing quesadillas and beverages. Niccol also recently told Bloomberg the chain is looking into creating cauliflower rice and more black bean-based options.