Chipotle announced on Thursday (Dec. 19) that it is testing out a different restaurant design in effort to keep its billion-dollar digital business growing. The U.S. chain of fast-casual restaurants will test out digital orders at its various restaurants, including a stand-alone location and an urban storefront, along with “Chipotlane,” its new modernized mobile drive-through lanes.
Digital sales grew 87.9 percent for the company during the third quarter, which accounted for nearly one-fifth of its total sales.
Chipotle stated that its restaurant location in Chicago, Phoenix, Cincinnati, San Diego and Newport Beach will participate in the debut, CNBC reported. Both its new and existing locations will be involved in the restaurant design trial as well, prior to determining which design will roll out nationally.
“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, according to reports.
Chipotle plans to make an assessment of each location based on the number of transactions generated, the incorporation of new menu items and overall customer feedback of the restaurants. New features of Chipotle’s restaurant design will also include the testing of walk-up windows, and built-in shelves for customer pickup orders.
“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,” stated Tabassum Zalotrawala, Chipotle’s chief development officer, CNBC noted.
In 2020, Chipotle plans to open between 150 and 165 new restaurant locations.
The business has significantly changed in recent years, altering ways in which customers receive their food. Chipotle has also been improving the way customers pick up their digital orders through Chipotlanes. Almost half of the chain’s new restaurants opening next year will include the digital-order-only Chipotlanes to further increase sales.
Chipotle is optimistic that its new restaurant design test will maximize the chain’s future digital-business-growth expectations, and its commitment to transparency.