People obviously still wait in line for Chipotle, but more and more are heading online to order ahead. According to the chain, its digital sales are way up, so an evolved design is being tested in four new restaurants concept — two of which have a “Chipotlane,” a drive-thru pick-up lane where customers can grab orders they placed online.
Customers can expect an urban storefront, standalone restaurant with a Chipotlane and end cap unit with a Chipotlane in Chicago (1027 W. Addison St.), Cincinnati (7903 Crossings of Beckett) and two locations in Phoenix (1655 W Elliot Rd. and 1816 W Bethany Home Rd.). The new design will also be trialed in two retrofits (minor changes without a total remodel or renovation) in Newport Beach (1322 Bison Ave.) and San Diego (1025 Camino De La Reina Ste 2).
So, what’s up with this new design? Apart from the drive-thru Chipotlane windows, Chipotle is implementing pick-up portals, a shelf-like area designated for people who are just coming in to get their digital orders. This is supposed to make it more efficient for customers to find their food when they arrive. Instead a Chipotlane, the Chicago location will have a walk-up window, so customers can grab their food from the sidewalk.
Even though you can kind of see employees preparing food behind the counter already, the new restaurants will also have an open kitchen and “front row seating” so you can see what’s going on in there at all times.
Lastly, bottled beverages will be more accessible through a customer-facing cooler built into the serving line so you can grab a Corona instead of asking for it.
After the trial period is over, Chipotle will see which restaurant type did best and roll that out nationally. So it seems that no matter what, the new design is coming to a location near you. Maybe you can even watch them make the guac — just one of many fast food menu items with a cult following.
This story was updated on 12/24/2019 to reflect that "Chipotlanes" are drive-thru.