Meet the "Chipotlane."
Chipotle is taking a big step into a faster-food model with an interesting, digital twist.
In 2019, the fast-casual eatery announced it would adding a drive-thru option to several locations across the nation, and the first one in Colorado is ready for customers.
The 2046 Prairie Center Parkway location in Brighton has opened its "Chipotlane" to serve drive-up customers. Another location in Parker is expected to open in the coming months, as well.
The twist is that, unlike traditional drive-thrus, you can't just drive up and order. Customers must put their orders in ahead on the website or app, and then show up at the pick-up time designated for their order.
The Colorado Chipotlane locations will join several other eateries that already have the option, as well as other design changes, to accommodate the company's digital business, which has increased to about $1 billion in 2019 (a whopping 90.3 percent growth over 2018). It is moving fairly quickly to capture those digital sales, opening up to several food delivery services, as well.
According to the eatery's 2019 fourth-quarter earnings call in February, "We opened a record 80 new restaurants, including one relocation during the quarter and closed three. This included 46 Chipotlanes resulting in a total of 66 Chipotlanes at year-end. For 2020, we anticipate opening 150-165 new restaurants with more than half including a Chipotlane."
"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, Chief Technology Officer.
So, will you be able to drive-thru at your local Chipotle any time soon? Likely not. The company has said it will focus on adding a drive-thru lane to most of its new stores rather than add them to existing locations.
Have you tried out the Brighton Chipotlane yet? Is this a feature that you'll be using? Let us know in the comments!