Chipotle Mexican Grill recently opened its 500th location, in Louisville, Ky., and announced plans to open between 255 and 285 new restaurants in 2023. At least 80 percent of the new locations will have "Chipotlane," a digital order drive-through lane.
Chipotle is the only restaurant company of its size that owns and operates all its restaurants, reports Chain Store Age.
New restaurant openings that feature this digital order pick-up lane have demonstrated higher volumes and greater returns than a traditional Chipotle restaurant format, the company said.
"Chipotlanes are the digital drive thru of the future and a key piece of our growth strategy as we plan to more than double our restaurant count over the long term to achieve 7,000 restaurants or more in North America,” said Tabassum Zalotrawala, chief development officer.
Chipotle Mexican Grill is also piloting advanced technologies to automate kitchen workflows and mobile-enable the store experience for customers. It also is piloting advanced location-based technology to enhance its app functionality and provide a seamless, convenient experience for in-store customers, reports Chain Store Age.
Chipotle recently partnered with ASAP.com, a regional marketplace partner that provides seamless delivery service in more than 1,000 cities. The partnership is intended to provide a timely delivery experience from more than 600 Chipotle restaurants on the East Coast, South and Mid-West, in addition to Chipotle's existing national delivery partnerships.
Chipotle had nearly 3,100 restaurants in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.