Today in Food Commerce: Chipotle Opens Virtual Storefront; Chili’s Delivers via Drone


Today in food commerce, Chipotle enables real food purchases with Roblox currency, while Wade Allen of Brinker International talks drone delivery with PYMNTS. Plus, PYMNTS data reveal that restaurants are optimistic about 2022.

Restaurant Brands Open Virtual Storefronts to Appeal to Gen Z Consumers

Chipotle Mexican Grill is extending commerce opportunities into the video game world, enabling real purchases with in-game currency. The fast-casual chain, which operates nearly 3,000 locations across five countries, has announced the launch of its “Chipotle Burrito Builder” in the gaming platform Roblox, enabling consumers to exchange in-game “Burrito Bucks” for real restaurant purchases.

Chili Parent Brinker International Says Automation Is the ‘Heartbeat’ of Innovation

Brinker International Senior Vice President and Head of Innovation Wade Allen told PYMNTS about how drone delivery and other tech-enabled strategies can help meet consumers’ rising demand for digital convenience.

Despite Inflation Challenges, Restaurants Predict Growth in 2022

For all the labor, supply chain and inflation challenges that restaurants face today, a sense of optimism remains. Research from PYMNTS’ March study, “Main Street Economic Health Survey: Navigating Economic Uncertainty,” found that 63% of food, entertainment and accommodations businesses predict that they will see revenue gains in 2022 relative to 2021.

Shoppers Turn Away From Name Brands as Inflation Takes a Bite out of Grocery Budgets

Inflation is letting some air out of pricey, coveted consumer packaged goods (CPG) name brands amid evidence that shoppers feel pinched and are shifting to discount labels and stores. CPG majors have had it good since 2020 as consumers ignored price increases and stocked up on pretty much everything for a year-plus after lockdowns began. But that was a different crisis.

Shortages, Inflation Spur New Mix of Paper and Digital Couponing

If you ever watched an episode of the reality TV show “Extreme Couponing,” you know that coupon clipping is serious business for price-conscious consumers and the brands offering them the discounts they demand. Largely due to fears instilled in millions during the earliest days of the pandemic, the coupon business is undergoing a digital shift, but it’s also retaining a paper attachment when beneficial.

Thanx Adds Restaurant Data Insights Company ZeroStorefront

Restaurant and brick-and-mortar retail loyalty and guest engagement platform Thanx has acquired restaurant-focused marketing and data insights platform ZeroStorefront.