This is clearly Chipotle’s year. Not only did the fast-casual restaurant recently update its menu to include Whole30-, paleo- and keto-friendly Lifestyle Bowls, but it experienced so much growth over the years that it just opened its 2,500th restaurant in Concord, California — and will open 140 to 155 new restaurant locations this year.
Riding this wave of momentum, Chipotle also announced a couple of plans to make it even easier to pick up to-go orders.
Currently, about 1,000 Chipotle restaurants have an in-store pickup shelf for those who placed their orders online or via its app. It’s so easy; you just walk in, pick up your order and walk right out. By the middle of this year, however, Chipotle plans to implement the shelves in all restaurants, according to its press release.
“The opening of Chipotle’s 2,500th restaurant is a milestone and a testament to our great growth trajectory,” says Tabassum Zalotrawala, the newly appointed chief development officer of Chipotle, in the release. “I feel lucky to have come on board during such an exciting time for the company and am thrilled to continue working with the team to develop new ideas that reinforce growth, increase access and convenience for our guests.”
But it doesn’t end there. To up the ante, Chipotle said in the press release it will continue to test its drive-up pickup lanes, called Chipotlanes, this year — so you don’t have to step foot out of your car. They plan to expand these lanes to a few dozen more new restaurants across several markets. As in, they won’t be adding these lanes to existing Chipotle locations.
— What's New in Food? (@Newfoodaisle) February 7, 2019
As of May 2018, five Chipotle locations in the U.S., including restaurants in Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Massachusetts, added drive-thru windows, CNBC reported at the time.
According to Business Insider, Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol told investors, “Arguably, it will be the fastest way to [get] Chipotle — going through the Chipotlane.”
And let’s not forget the launch of Chipotle’s customer loyalty program, which should happen sometime this year. The four test markets include Phoenix, Arizona; Kansas City, Kansas; Kansas City, Missouri; and Columbus, Ohio. The gist is, once you’re a member of Chipotle Rewards, you’ll receive 10 points for every dollar spent or 15 points for every dollar spent if you order online or with the Chipotle app. Rack up enough points and get free food.
Here’s to making 2019 your best year yet, Chipotle — because, really, there’s nowhere to go but up compared to last year’s mess.