Chipotle cooks up marketing revamp to revive tumbling taco sales

US fast-casual chain Chipotle is embarking on a major reboot in an attempt to reverse its flagging fortunes, by simultaneously re-working its marketing strategy while closing between 55 and 65 underperforming restaurants.

The two-pronged assault is being spearheaded by newly installed CEO Brian Niccol who has championed online sales as the road to salvation, implementing ‘in-app’ delivery of its products to around 2,000 restaurants by year end ahead of a much-vaunted loyalty program the following year.

Chipotle remains coy about international growth, choosing instead to focus on revitalising its core US market, setting aside up to $135m in charges to cover the costs of the restructuring.

Other initiatives include a ‘happy hour’ special in which customers will be lured through the doors with the offer of a $2 taco and drink as the chain seeks to put a wave of food safety scandals behind it.

Chipotle has been accused of failing to innovate having pioneered the introduction of ‘real’ ingredients, leading Americans to seek their Mexican fixes elsewhere.

The fresh marketing approach follows the appointment of Chris Brandt as chief marketing officer.