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Sweetgreen to open at least 35 locations, pilot drive-thru in 2022

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Sweetgreen is diving into one of the restaurant industry’s hottest trends — drive-thru — but with an added tweak.

The health-conscious, fast-casual salad chain will pilot a new concept in Schaumburg, Ill., within the next year. The restaurant will feature Sweetgreen’s signature in-store experience with the addition of its first “sweetlane,” a drive-thru lane to increase convenience for digital customers.

To bring the in-store experience to drive-thru digital customers, the space will also feature a round observation window for customers in their cars to watch the fresh prep as they pick up their orders. Pick-up orders may also be placed inside the restaurant, where dine-in service will be available. 

To utilize the drive-thru, customers will place orders in advance through Sweetgreen’s digital platform. Sweetgreen noted that almost 50% of total revenue in 2021 came through orders placed on Sweetgreen's mobile app or website

“We are always innovating to provide more convenience for our customers, which is why we’re excited about our first sweetlane concept in Schaumburg,” said Sweetgreen co-founder and chief concept officer Nicolas Jammet. “Digital customers are our most habitual users and we believe this new format will provide us with more options to connect people to real food.”

Sweetgreen ended the year with more than 150 locations. The company, which went public last November, expects to open at least 35 new restaurants in 2022. It is looking to double its footprint in the next three to five years, and sees the potential for 1,000 locations by the end of the decade.

[Read More: Sweetgreen acquires restaurant automation start-up]

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