Chipotle Revamps Queso Recipe in Bid to Jump-Start Turnaround

(Bloomberg) -- Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. is attempting a do-over with its much-maligned queso.

The struggling burrito chain has reworked the recipe of the cheese dip and is now rolling it out to restaurants, according to company spokesman Chris Arnold. The original version of the item, which debuted nationally in September, was panned by critics on social media for its grainy texture.

The new queso is still made without artificial ingredients, but has a “creamier texture, and a really nice spicy flavor,” Arnold said in an email. “We noted at the time that we rolled it out that may still tweak it a bit, and we have done that.”

Chipotle had hoped that the national launch of queso would help spur a comeback for the company after a two-year slump. A food-safety crisis, a hacker attack and other mishaps have bedeviled the former star of the restaurant industry, tarnishing its brand and sending its shares sliding. The weak reaction to the queso recipe was yet another setback.

Last week, founder Steve Ells announced he would step down from the chief executive officer role, conceding that new leadership may be needed to get Chipotle back on track. Investors applauded the move, sending the shares on their biggest rally of the year.

Customers have long requested that Chipotle add queso to the menu, but the initial version didn’t have the gooey concoction’s typical texture. The Denver-based company cited the fact that its queso is made without the gums and artificial stabilizers that are typically added to the item.

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