Chipotle is bringing back a menu item it killed just a year ago, and it shows the chain's massive evolution

  • Chipotle announced on Monday it is bringing back chorizo to all stores for a limited time.

  • The chain took chorizo off the menu in September 2017 for the sake of efficiency, it said at the time.

  • The limited-time offer shows how Chipotle's approach to its menu has changed with new CEO Brian Niccol at the helm.

Chipotle is bringing back one of its main meat offerings after removing it from the menu last fall.

The fast-casual chain has reintroduced chorizo to its stores nationwide for a limited time.

"Chorizo had a big following in its heyday, and a lot of our customers were disappointed when it was taken off the menu," Chris Brandt, chief marketing officer at Chipotle, said in a statement. "As part of our overall commitment to menu innovation and delivering the craveable food our customers love, we're spicing things up and bringing chorizo back to our menu."

Reviews of the chorizo have been decidedly mixed. While it was on the menu, it was one of the least popular protein choices, with just 3% of customers selecting it, according to BTIG analyst Peter Saleh. When Business Insider reporter Hollis Johnson tried it, he called it "disappointing" and "bland."

Bringing it back is a somewhat unexpected move for the chain, which cut the meat last September for the sake of efficiency, it said at the time. Saleh had said earlier that the chain had considered cutting chorizo to make room for queso and other menu additions.

"While we really liked the chorizo (and many customers did too), the efficiency of our model has always been rooted, in part, in doing just a few things so we can do them really well," former Chipotle spokesperson Chris Arnold told Business Insider in 2017.

Chipotle hasn't gotten rid of queso, and it doesn't appear to be planning to do so. So what has changed?

Chipotle's new CEO, Brian Niccol, took the reins in March and has big plans to revamp the chain, which is still trying to remake its image in the shadow of food-safety issues.

The chain has already started testing new menu items like bacon, chocolate milkshakes, and avocado tostadas.

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