After a three-year sales slump, investors are betting that Chipotle Mexican Grill could finally be headed for a turnaround as a new CEO takes the helm.
On the back of menu price hikes, Chipotle posted better-than-expected earnings, sending shares soaring. In trading Thursday, shares jumped more than 20 percent, its second best day ever, behind its IPO debut in 2006.
“Job number one is to remind people why they love Chipotle,” CEO Brian Niccol told CNBC’s Kate Rogers in his first television interview since joining the burrito chain in March. “I think there [are] opportunities to use what we have and present it in new forms, new varieties, to get people re-engaged with what they love about Chipotle.”
Niccol established a reputation for the whimsical when it comes to menu innovation when he was CEO of Taco Bell. However, investors shouldn’t expect any major changes to the brand’s food in the near-term.
Although, items like breakfast burritos are not out of the question, Niccol said.
“There is opportunity to bring in new flavors as well,” he said on “Squawk on the Street.” “One thing that’s great is we got carnitas and chicken that people absolutely crave.”
He explained the restaurant chain could present these items in ways that Chipotle currently doesn’t offer.
Chipotle has tested a number of menu items in its test kitchen in New York City, including nachos, which could see a national roll out.
In addition to ingenuity in the kitchen, Niccol has been a big proponent of adopting technology. At Taco Bell, he introduced mobile order and pay as well as in-store kiosks.
On the conference call Wednesday, Niccol said Chipotle will be focusing heavily in these areas, but declined to comment further. He told investors that he would share more detail about Chipotle’s plan during a call ahead of the second-quarter earnings report.