Since 2018 Chipotle has been actively seeking new avenues of innovation with significant investments in revamping its infrastructure and menu offerings. The chain is continuing this initiative, recently announcing a pilot program to test out a new restaurant design. The new design is reportedly intended to support Chipotle’s billion-dollar-and-growing digital business and will be trialed in a number of cities.
"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."
The new design is set to be tested in four new restaurants of the following types: an urban store front, a standalone restaurant with a Chipotlane and an endcap unit with a Chipotlane in Chicago, Cincinnati, and two locations in Phoenix, according to a press release. The new format will also be trialed in two retrofits in Newport Beach, and San Diego, California. Throughout the trials, Chipotle will closely monitor the performance of each restaurant, looking at transactions, guest feedback, and the ability to incorporate future menu innovations. The results of the trials will determine if the company decides to roll out the design on a national level.
Chipotle’s commitment to transparency is represented in the new restaurant design with open views and front-row seating with direct lines of sight into the kitchen, where patrons can watch crew members hand-prepare fresh food. The openness is intended to increase communication and foster a sense of community. The bottled beverages display will also be retooled, becoming more accessible with a customer-facing reach-in cooler built into the serving line.
The company reports that its digital business has increased to $1 billion, so the new design and in-restaurant features are intended to support that business by reducing friction and increasing convenience for customers and delivery drivers. The new walk-up windows and premium placement for digital built-in, pick-up portals allow customers to receive their food more efficiently than ever before.
"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.
How will the new design be received by consumers? Deli Market News will keep you updated.