Chipotle’s quesadillas bring in new customers, contribute to digital sales growth

Chipotle’s quesadilla

Chipotle Mexican Grill

Chipotle Mexican Grill’s quesadillas were worth the wait.

After years of tinkering with the recipe, the burrito chain launched the menu item as a digital exclusive in mid-March. So far, it looks like taking the time to figure it out has paid off for Chipotle. CEO Brian Niccol said Wednesday that about 10% of customers are ordering the quesadillas, which is its first new entree in 17 years.

“We made sure we took the proper time to develop an excellent product that consumers love and also works well operationally,” he told analysts.

Niccol also said that “a lot” of new customers are buying quesadillas, so they aren’t taking sales away from burrito bowls or tacos. Chipotle saw its highest rate of new customers in March, coinciding with the launch. Moreover, customers who order the quesadillas are creating a new eating occasion, like a mid-afternoon snack.

The successful launch of quesadillas may have been a factor in Chipotle’s first-quarter digital sales growth. Online orders more than doubled during the quarter and accounted for 50.1% of total sales, overtaking in-person orders for the first time.

Shares of Chipotle were up less than 1% in extended trading on Wednesday after the company reported its first-quarter results. The company crushed Wall Street’s earnings estimates and met its revenue expectations.