Chipotle Mexican Grill is testing a new restaurant design to better support its billion-dollar digital business.
The evolved design will be trialed in four new restaurants, including an urban store front, a standalone restaurant with a Chipotlane and an endcap unit with a Chipotlane, in Chicago, Cincinnati, and two locations in Phoenix.
Additionally, the new restaurant design will be trialed in two retrofits in Newport Beach and San Diego.
As part of its stage gate process, Chipotle will assess the performance of each restaurant for transactions, guest feedback, and ability to incorporate future menu innovations, among other metrics, before determining which design will roll out nationally.
With Chipotle’s digital business increasing in size to $1 billion dollars, new in-restaurant features are being installed to help reduce friction and increase convenience for customers and delivery drivers alike.
Walk-up windows and premium placement for digital built in pick-up portals will allow customers to receive their food more efficiently than ever.
“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 at the chain.
The new restaurant design will emulate Chipotle’s commitment to transparency. Open views and front row seating provide direct lines of sight into the kitchen, where crew members hand prepare fresh food with real ingredients every day.
The openness of this design will aim to increase communication and foster a sense of community with the restaurants.
Additionally, bottled beverages will be more accessible with a customer-facing reach in cooler built into the serving line.
“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,” said chief development officer Tabassum Zalotrawala. “Our eco-friendly, natural aesthetic and locally sourced approach to this design builds on our strong brand values and mission of cultivating a better world.”