Chipotle to Open Digital-Only Concept

Meanwhile, McDonald’s trials faster ordering and payment solutions at the drive-thru. 

November 13, 2020

HIGHLAND FALLS, N.Y.—Foodservice retailers continue to make innovations regarding the last-mile. Tomorrow, Chipotle will debut its new digital-only concept called Chipotle Digital Kitchen in Highland Falls, N.Y., Chain Store Age reports. The new prototype restaurant will fill pickup and delivery orders without a dining room or front service line.

Customers will place orders via Chipotle app, website or third-party delivery partners. Orders can be picked up from an area designed to include views of the kitchen as in a traditional Chipotle location. The ghost kitchen will also service catering orders with a separate entrance and lobby area.

“The digital kitchen incorporates innovative features that will complement our rapidly growing digital business, while delivering a convenient and frictionless experience for our guests,” said Curt Garner, CTO of Chipotle. “With digital sales tripling year over year last quarter, consumers are demanding more digital access than ever before so we're constantly exploring new ways to enhance the experience for our guests.”

Meanwhile, McDonald’s has been working on getting customers through the drive-thru faster. The chain is piloting concepts and initiatives at some locations worldwide that include automating ordering, payments through customer ID at the display screen, dedicated pickup parking spaces and technology that alerts employees it’s time to prep orders, Chain Store Age reports.

The burger chain is also testing a new express drive-thru for customers who place orders via the McDonald’s app. In addition, McDonald’s is working on its “On-the-Go” format, a smaller restaurant with limited or no inside seating and a focus on drive-thru, delivery and carryout.

Read “Making Foodservice Sizzle” in NACS Daily for ways convenience stores are upping their foodservice game, which recaps two education sessions from the NACS Crack the Code Experience. The education sessions “Competing for Food Sales” and “Drive to Delivery” at the NACS Crack the Code Experience will also offer more insights into your foodservice category. You can still register for your very own NACS Crack the Code Experience (CTCE). The NACS Crack the Code Experience runs through December 4, 2020, and features 24/7 access to forward-looking ideas and insights, plus innovative new-to-channel products and strategic connections.