Chipotle Opens Its First All-Digital Restaurant As On-line Orders Soar

A customer wearing a protective mask enters a Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. restaurant in San Francisco, California. .

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Chipotle Mexican Grill will open the first restaurant that is digital only on Saturday.

Unlike a traditional Chipotle location, there won’t be a dining room or an order line. Customers must order in advance through Chipotle’s app, website, or third-party delivery platforms.

The new restaurant design is for urban areas where real estate is more expensive and a full size restaurant is not possible. However, the first location will open in Highland Falls, New York, just outside West Point.

The design can also accommodate large catering orders that have their own entrance and lobby for collection.

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the shift in customers to online ordering and prompted Chipotle to optimize the experience as much as possible. In the third quarter, the company reported that digital sales more than tripled. CEO Brian Niccol said the total number of digital orders this year could exceed $ 2.5 billion, more than double last year.

The crisis and its shock to the hospitality industry have led other companies to rethink their designs. Burger King and Shake Shack are among the restaurants looking to add thoroughfare reserved for delivery drivers or online orders. Starbucks is now planning to build more mobile pick-up cafes this year and 2021 than previously thought.

Chipotle’s shares, valued at $ 34.8 billion, are up 67% this year. The stock rose 4% in morning trading.

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