The First Chipotle ‘Digital-Only’ Restaurant Opens To Cater To Online Orders
PR News Wire reports that Chipotle will be launching its digital-only restaurant called the Chipotle Digital Kitchen. The said digital-only restaurant is located just outside the gates to the military academy in Highland Falls, New York. According to Food Business News, the new store format is driven by the business's surging digital demands.
The Chipotle Digital Kitchen Design
Related reports say that it will consist of only a lobby designated for off-premise orders and food pick-up instead of the typical fast-casual, burrito-building service line. However, the company promises that the traditional Chipotle experience will not disappear. The sounds, smell, and kitchen views of the Chipotle restaurant will be pampered throughout the reception area.
Additionally, these virtual restaurant spaces will help accelerate the digital business in non-traditional locations. Subsequently, Chipotle is looking to spread into high dense and urban marketplaces. Chipotle Chief Technology Officer Curt Garner says that the Digital Kitchen embodies innovative features that will complement their fast-growing digital business.
He adds that this new format will usher in a convenient and frictionless experience for their customers. He further explains that they saw digital sales tripling year-over-year and consumers demanding more digital access than ever before. As a response, they are continually exploring new ways to enhance the experience for their customers.
Chipotle's Digital Sales
Related reports reveal that the company's digital sales grew 202.5% year-over-year to $776.4 million. Global Chief Development Officer for Chipotle, Tabassum Zalotrawala, said that this represented 48.8% of sales last quarter. Half of those digital sales are made up of deliveries, and the remaining came from order-ahead transactions.
Chipotle CEO and Chairman Brian Niccol said they invested heavily in digital accessibility for their customers prior to the pandemic. This included the enhancement of their app and website. He adds that since off-premise orders took off when stay-at-home orders went into place, this will be vital to the company's success and ability to manage through the crisis.
The Cultivate Center
The company's new design concepts and menu innovation are envisioned at the Cultivate Center in Irvine, California. This Cultivate Center is just minutes away from the Chipotle headquarters, and this new 22,000 square foot facility showcases the same natural aesthetic with eco-friendly materials and designs.
The Cultivate Center is said to be the home to Chipotle's official test kitchen. This is where the company's culinary team concoct future menu items and utilize real, responsibly sourced ingredients to test recipes. The facility also houses a production studio for filming commercials and developing creative concepts.
In addition, it also has a consumer research center to allow for focus groups and gathering critical insights. It is also the home to the Center of Excellence for Design and Construction, which carries a fully equipped development lab, woodworking machinery, and metal cutting and in order to build and test prototypes prior to rolling it out in a restaurant environment.
Meanwhile, Zalotrawala adds that they are planning to open more digital kitchens and are carefully evaluating the best trade areas in which they can expand this test.