Chipotle Mexican Grill is piloting new store features to reduce friction and increase convenience for customers and drivers picking up digital orders.
The fast-casual chain is testing its new design in four new restaurants of the following types: an urban storefront, a standalone restaurant with a drive-thru “Chipotlane,” and endcap unit with a “Chipotlane.” The pilot stores are in Chicago, Cincinnati, and two locations in Phoenix. Additionally, the new restaurant design will be trialed in two retrofits in Newport Beach and San Diego, Calif.
As part of its stage gate process, Chipotle will assess the performance of each restaurant for transactions, guest feedback, and ability to incorporate future menu innovations, among other metrics, before determining which design will roll out nationally.
With Chipotle's digital business increasing in size to $1 billion dollars, new in-restaurant features such as walk-up windows and premium placement for digital built in pick-up portals are designed to allow customers to receive their food more efficiently. Other features include open views and front row seating to provide direct lines of sight into the kitchen. The openness of this design will aim to increase communication and foster a sense of community with the restaurants. Additionally, bottled beverages will be more accessible with a customer-facing reach-in cooler built into the serving line.
"By better suiting our restaurants to accommodate the digital business, we're able to finalize orders more effectively and provide a better overall experience for our guests," said Curt Garner, CTO, Chipotle.
"While we are staying true to Chipotle's heritage, we are also excited to integrate new, innovative physical features into the restaurant that complement our growing digital business," said Tabassum Zalotrawala, chief development officer of Chipotle. "Our eco-friendly, natural aesthetic and locally sourced approach to this design builds on our strong brand values and mission of cultivating a better world."
Chipotle Mexican Grill had over 2,500 restaurants as of Sept. 30, 2019, in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Germany, and owns and operates all its restaurants.