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Why Chipotle keeps running out of carnitas

April 8, 2015, 3:41 PM UTC
Photograph by David Paul Morris — Bloomberg/Getty Images

Chipotle continues to suffer carnitas shortages at many locations around the U.S. after it dropped a pork vendor in January over failure to meet the restaurant’s standards, Bloomberg reports.

“We don’t know for sure when we’ll be fully supplied again,” Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold said. “For many years, we’ve been operating in a system where the primary food supply doesn’t meet our standards.”

To meet Chipotle’s guidelines, meat ingredients must be free of antibiotics and added hormones. For pork, animals need outdoor access or “deeply bedded barns,” meaning straw to sleep on. At the same time, there’s increased competition from other fast food chains looking to bulk up on higher quality ingredients.

Chipotle wants to expand, but the shortages might affect its ability to do so, Bloomberg reports:

At the same time, the company is looking to open as many as 205 new restaurants this year, bringing its total to about 2,000. It may have to reconsider its expansion plans if it can’t find a long-term solution to the pork supply woes, said Asit Sharma, an analyst at the Motley Fool in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Chipotle saw revenue rise 27.8% to $4.11 billion last year, and its stock price jumped about 29%. Chipotle reported fourth quarter earnings of $3.84 per share, versus expected earnings of $3.79 a share, according to CNBC.