Chipotle's iconic store front is shown.

flickr: Mike Mozart

Chipotle's Lifestyle Bowl menu caters to the Paleo, Keto, Whole30, and Double Protein lovers among us.

Yours Truly: I Eat From the Chipotle Lifestyle Menu

A personal diatribe about why healthier options might be a good menu trend in January.

On January 1 I embarked on my fourth Whole 30—thirty days in which I will consume no grains, beans, processed foods, added sugar, or alcohol. But it was different this time. I had back-up. My boyfriend was joining me in solidarity, and two best friends as well. Who else? Chipotle.

At the beginning of the new year, Chipotle announced the launch of its Lifestyle Bowls—Paleo, Keto, Whole30, and Double Protein (because, do you even lift, bro?).

I, personally, was excited. As usual, I am the target audience for something like this, a digital-only, app-accessible, super convenient way to eat healthier. But no surprise there. This menu was undoubtedly crafted for people just like me who are driving digital and app sales at fast-casual spots like Chipotle.

There’s certainly something bigger going on with Chipotle’s strategy, a resolution that might offset their misfortune from years past—as many New Year’s resolutions hope to do—and correct their trajectory forward, not only with the public but with investors. Still, the move is a smart one.

When it comes to getting those resolution-maker dollars, gyms (and Jenny Craig) are still winning the biggest. Counting myself as one of the crowd who decided to get her life together in the new year and hit the gym made me one of the many in line for a treadmill at Planet Fitness on Monday night. I can tell you it’s never that crowded on a Monday in July.

The truth is I can always go to Chipotle (or Chopt, sweetgreen, CAVA, to name a few) and get a bowl to meet whichever way I’m eating. But when it comes to full-service, I've been wondering, why don’t more restaurants capitalize on the healthiest eating time of year? Vegetables are hot right now, and so is food transparency. It’s a good time for full-serves to get some simply prepared, locally sourced, organic, grass-fed, wild-caught options on the specials menu.

What my colleague Danny Klein questioned in a LinkedIn post is what everyone on one of these diets is likely also wondering, myself included—“Will healthy option sales spike and then taper off, like gym memberships? Or is this something more lasting?”

What I love about Whole30 is that it resets my mindset for the future. My own personal excitement about Chipotle’s Lifestyle Bowls came with the hope that it is, in fact, the sign of something more lasting. I’m one of the people who see the trend toward healthier as much bigger than New Year’s resolutions, and the trend toward digital as happening, like, yesterday. None of this is flash-in-the-pan. So cheers to healthier choices in 2019, for your menu and your bottom line.

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