Chipotle holds the dining room in new digital-only store concept

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Chipotle holds the dining room in new digital-only store concept

By Dan Berthiaume - 11/11/2020

Chipotle is opening a restaurant that will fill pick-up and delivery orders only.

Chipotle Mexican Grill will unveil its first-ever digital-only restaurant, called the “Chipotle Digital Kitchen,” on Saturday, Nov. 14. Located just outside of the gates to the military academy in Highland Falls, N.Y., the new prototype, which was designed in-house, does not include a dining room or front service line. 

Instead, customers must order in advance via the Chipotle website, app, or third-party delivery partners. Orders can be picked up from a lobby that is designed to include all of the sounds, smells and kitchen views of a traditional Chipotle restaurant. The digital-only location will also service large catering orders available for pickup in a separate lobby with its own dedicated entry.

Chipotle created the new format at its new “Cultivate Center” in Irvine, Calif. The 22,000-sq.-ft. facility houses a fully-equipped development lab, metal cutting and woodworking machinery to build and test new prototypes before rolling it out in a restaurant environment. It also is home to the company’s official test kitchen, a production studio for filming commercials and developing creative concepts, space for restaurant training and development and a consumer research center.

Chipotle said its new digital-only concept is focused on accelerating the digital business in non-traditional locations. It also will allow Chipotle to enter more urban areas that wouldn't support a full-size restaurant and provide flexibility with future locations.  

"The digital kitchen incorporates innovative features that will complement our rapidly growing digital business, while delivering a convenient and frictionless experience for our guests," said Curt Garner, CTO of Chipotle. "With digital sales tripling year over year last quarter, consumers are demanding more digital access than ever before so we're constantly exploring new ways to enhance the experience for our guests."

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. had over 2,700 restaurants as of Sept. 30, 2020, in the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, and Germany. It is the only restaurant company of its size that owns and operates all its stores.