Retail

Chipotle Rolls Out ’Smarter Pickup Times’

Chipotle Mexican Grill recently upped its restaurant technology game, enabling shorter wait times via digital order scheduling options.

Chipotle recently rolled out its “Smarter Pickup Times” technology to all its restaurants that offer digital ordering. The new system improves on Chipotle’s digital ordering options for iOS, Android and web by allowing users to schedule orders and reserve a future pickup time. The system then provides customers with a wait time estimate based on current order volume.

In tests of Smarter Pickup Times, Chipotle reported that users saw a reduction of wait times for digital orders by as much as 50 percent, as well as an overall increase in the total number of digital orders.

Curt Garner, chief information officer at Chipotle, said in a press release, “We have been evaluating all of our digital offerings with an eye toward removing friction. That started with a redesign of our website to make it responsive to whatever device a customer is using — a computer, tablet or smartphone — followed by online catering and additional out of store payment options and continues with the completion of our ‘Smarter Pickup Times’ initiative. With this change, we have reduced the wait time for digital orders and are able to keep our restaurants from being overwhelmed with digital orders, particularly at peak times.”

This digital integration by Chipotle is the latest in a series of updates, upgrades and advances for restaurants in the U.S. and globally as consumers continue to crave restaurant tech.

In North America, restaurants are playing catch-up, as placing mobile orders to restaurants is still a novelty. Only some 32 percent of customers in North America reported ordering food using a mobile device in the three months prior.

This doesn’t mean that North American customers aren’t pining for mobile ordering options — especially the millennial market. Seventy-seven percent of North American customers ages 18 to 34 want or expect mobile ordering at fast-food restaurants. That number jumps to 83 percent when those surveyed were asked about fast-casual chains.

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