For Chipotle Mexican Grill, New Year’s Day is the day of the Rose (Burrito) Bowl.
The Newport Beach-based restaurant chain will have one of the approximately 40 lushly designed, meticulously assembled Rose Parade floats that will roll through the heart of Pasadena on Tuesday morning — its first entry in “America’s New Year celebration.”
The float, like its counterparts, will be festooned with flowers. Unlike them — but in keeping with the parade’s focus on natural materials — it also will be covered in foodstuffs, all from Chipotle’s menu.
Chipotle Chief Marketing Officer Chris Brandt said the company — known for its burritos, burrito bowls, tacos and salads — unveiled its current “For Real” campaign this fall with billboards in Times Square and a full-page ad in the New York Times listing the 51 ingredients it uses for its dishes. The Rose Parade is the campaign’s West Coast splash.
The float will have a vibrant green palette from the leaves of romaine lettuce and cilantro and the skins of bell, jalapeno and poblano peppers, tomatillos and avocados. White rice, ground fine, will be used as lettering, and fragrant cumin and cloves will bring darker tones and warm scents. The centerpiece of the scene — a tractor — will get its red color from 200 pounds of chili flakes, and its tires will get their texture from sunflower seeds.
The band Portugal. The Man, which has partnered with Chipotle on an educational children’s video series and two Cultivate food, music and idea festivals, will perform from a cart beside the tractor tires.
Since the edible components will no longer be fit for a burrito when the parade is over, they’ll be returned to the earth as compost, Brandt said.
Chipotle says the float honors the growers and employees who power the fast-casual brand, which moved its headquarters from Denver to Newport this year.
The parade, in its 130th year, celebrates organic artistry and therefore dovetails with Chipotle’s “real is better” ethos, Brandt said.