First Digital-Only Chipotle Opens This Weekend
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.
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