Chipotle shares rise as chain tests new menu items

Chipotle stock rose Friday as the fast-casual Mexican food chain prepares to add quesadillas and other fresh menu items to a revamped menu.

Aside from quesadillas, Chipotle is testing other menu additions including avocado tostada, nachos, chocolate shakes and a spring salad with avocado citrus vinaigrette at a test kitchen in New York City, with plans for a nationwide rollout in the future. The company previously relied on a minimalist menu that featured burrito bowls, tacos and salads.

Shares rose nearly 2% on Friday, one day after the menu items were announced. Chipotle representatives declined to provide a timeline for when the items will launch nationwide.

Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol, who spearheaded menu overhauls that fueled Taco Bell’s turnaround in recent years, told the New York Times the company is working to determine the best way to integrate the menu items into its kitchens without sacrificing speed. Other promotional menu items are also expected to hit stores this year.

“One of the things we’re learning is what’s the right way to bring in a product for a limited time,” Niccol told the Times.

Chipotle shares have risen more than 40% since Niccol took over as CEO on March 5. The company had contended with months of sagging sales and stock declines after a series of food safety incidents.

Niccol said he expects Chipotle’s traditional menu items to remain its top revenue drivers.