• Market Crumbs

First Digital-Only Chipotle Opens This Weekend

Image via Chipotle

Just the other day we wrote about McDonald's new growth strategy, where the company detailed some of the restaurant concepts they're testing. Among them is a smaller restaurant dedicated to drive thru, takeaway and delivery with limited or no dine-in seating.

McDonald's isn't the first quick-service restaurant to announce plans to prioritize drive thru, delivery and pickup options at the expense of dining rooms.

Taco Bell announced in August it will roll out a new restaurant concept called "Taco Bell Go Mobile" next year that will be about half the size of existing Taco Bell restaurants. Similar to McDonald's, the concept will be full of digital features and have dual drive thru lanes and a dedicated priority pickup lane for customers that order using the Taco Bell app.

"The Taco Bell Go Mobile restaurant concept is not only an evolved physical footprint, but a completely synchronized digital experience centered around streamlining guest access points," Taco Bell President Mike Grams said. "For the first time, our guests will have the ability to choose the pick-up experience that best fits their needs, all while never leaving the comfort of their cars."

While McDonald's and Taco Bell's restaurant concepts have yet to come to life, Chipotle announced yesterday that it will open its first digital-only restaurant called the "Chipotle Digital Kitchen" in Highland Falls, NY this Saturday.

The new concept doesn't have a dining room or a front service line as customers must order in advance from Chipotle's website, Chipotle's app or a third-party delivery service. Customers will be able to pick up their orders in a lobby that is "designed to include all of the sounds, smells and kitchen views of a traditional Chipotle restaurant."

Chipotle says the new prototype will allow them to enter into urban areas that don't support a full-size restaurant and will offer them flexibility with future locations.

"The Digital Kitchen incorporates innovative features that will complement our rapidly growing digital business, while delivering a convenient and frictionless experience for our guests," Chipotle Chief Technology Officer Curt Garner said. "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."

With Taco Bell, McDonald's and Chipotle all testing similar concepts reducing the size of dining rooms, it's likely others will begin to follow as quick-service restaurants continue to embrace technology and focus on efficiency.

Leftover Crumbs

  • Mortgage demand hits 6-month low. Mortgage applications to buy a home dropped by 3% last week, yet still remain 16% higher than the same period a year earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's seasonally adjusted index. Refinances increased by 1% last week and are now 67% higher than the same period last year as mortgage rates hit record lows. "The purchase market continued its recent slump, with the index decreasing for the sixth time in seven weeks to its lowest level since May 2020," MBA economist Joel Kan said. "Inadequate housing supply is putting upward pressure on home prices and is impacting affordability — especially for first-time buyers and lower-income buyers."

  • TikTok looks for an answer. TikTok said it hasn't heard anything about the deadline placed on its parent company ByteDance to divest its U.S. assets, prompting TikTok to file a petition in a US Court of Appeals asking the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to review the actions. "In the nearly two months since the President gave his preliminary approval to our proposal to satisfy those concerns, we have offered detailed solutions to finalize that agreement – but have received no substantive feedback on our extensive data privacy and security framework," TikTok said in a statement.

  • Louis Dreyfus does something it's never done. Commodities giant Louis Dreyfus Company has agreed to sell an indirect 45% equity stake to Abu Dhabi-based holding company ADQ. The deal with ADQ marks the first external investment into Louis Dreyfus Company since its founding in 1851. The deal terms were not disclosed and ADQ will receive board seats in relation to the size of its investment.

  • IBM and AMD team up. IBM and AMD have agreed to a multi-year joint development agreement to enhance the security and artificial intelligence offerings of both companies. "This agreement between AMD and IBM aligns well with our long-standing commitment to collaborating with leaders in the industry," AMD executive vice president and CTO Mark Papermaster said. "AMD is excited to extend our work with IBM on AI, accelerating data center workloads, and improving security across the cloud."

  • Facebook extends political ad ban. Facebook said its ban on political ads will extend another month as the U.S. election continues to unfold. The ban was initially supposed to last for one week. "While multiple sources have projected a presidential winner, we still believe it's important to help prevent confusion or abuse on our platform," according to an email Facebook sent to advertisers seen by Reuters.