Chipotle is testing a secret menu item as it struggles to fix customers' most-hated dish

Chipotle NachosHollis Johnson

  • Chipotle is testing nachos, a long-time secret menu item.
  • The chain also appears to have adjusted its queso recipe in the wake of backlash.
  • Chipotle's queso hasn't caught on with many customers, who have called the dip a "crime against cheese" and "dumpster juice."

Chipotle's battle to get customers to embrace its "dumpster juice" queso is far from over.

A visit to the chain's Manhattan test kitchen on Wednesday revealed two pieces of queso news. First, the chain is testing nachos. Second, Chipotle appears to have changed its queso recipe.

Nachos have long been an unofficial Chipotle secret menu item.

But, now they're officially on the menu at the test kitchen, for $4.80. Chips are covered with queso and whatever else customers would typically get on a burrito or bowl (minus rice).

Chipotle QuesoHollis Johnson

Even more intriguing for most Chipotle customers is the fact that the chain is tweaking its queso recipe.

While Business Insider taste testers found Chipotle's original queso recipe to be too grainy to be enjoyed with chips, the queso we ordered on Wednesday was substantially less grainy. Even after it had been sitting out, it retained the proper texture of a dip instead of degrading into a sort of bizarre chowder.

The flavors were slightly different as well - still a little smoky, but more of an even, overall heat.

Chipotle did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment. However, some Chipotle workers are reporting online that the change has extended beyond the test kitchen.

Screen Shot 2017 11 29 at 1.26.05 PMTwitter Chipotlyfe

Chipotle said soon after its national queso rollout in September that it was still "tweaking" the recipe.

The chain faced backlash soon after debuting the queso, with customers calling the dip a "crime against cheese," "expired Velveeta," and "dumpster juice." The company confirmed that just 15% of orders include queso - less than half of the 40% that include guacamole. And, Cowen found that queso-related traffic died off after peaking the first week it was available.

On Wednesday, Chipotle announced that its founder, Steve Ells, is planning to step down as CEO as the chain struggles to recover from an E. coli scandal that began in 2015. Shares of the company are down more than 60% since peaking in August 2015.

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