A Tofu Chipotle?

Steak, chicken or tofu? The burrito chain will test a vegetarian burrito here in the Bay Area.


Palo Alto diners already have lots of vegetarian choices for dining out, but they could soon have another. Next month, Chipotle will debut a new vegetarian option—shredded organic tofu called "sofritas"—in San Francisco, with possible expansion into other markets.

Regardless of your "meat" option, your burrito or bowl might cost more later this year thanks to higher dairy and meat costs, the company announced recently.

"While we haven't made any decisions yet, the fact that our food costs are rising—it is more likely that we'll raise prices in 2013," Chief Financial Officer Jack Hartung told investors.

"We're not going to rush into it," Hartung said, adding that higher prices likely wouldn't come until the middle of the year.

The CFO said inflation in the cost of dairy in the fourth quarter opened the company to the idea of menu price increases in the third quarter of 2013, though officials are hopeful inflation will level off later this year.

Hartung didn't say how much prices could go up at the restaurant chain, now in its 20th year.

Chipotle opened 183 new restaurants last year, officials said, and expect to open more this year. In Palo Alto, there are two Chipotle locations--in Stanford Shopping Center and at 2675 El Camino Real.

Chipotle CEO Steve Ells said the restaurant serves almost 1 million customers each day.


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