Don’t bother waiting for a table—there aren’t any. That would be Chipotle’s new restaurant concept that only accepts digital orders for take-out or delivery. Responding to the remote order and pay trend, driven by Covid-19, QSRs and fast casual chains are pivoting to handle this expanding sales channel. Restaurant operators will save on commercial rent costs, since less space is needed with this new layout. Starbucks is also trying the digital only approach with some new stores as its mobile order and pay transactions have surged. Expect to see other restaurant brands follow suit.
The following excerpt from a CNBC article reports more on the topic:
- Chipotle Mexican Grill’s first digital-only restaurant opens Saturday in Highlands, New York.
- The design does not include a dining room or a line for ordering.
- Chipotle’s digital sales more than tripled in its third quarter, accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Unlike a traditional Chipotle location, it will not include a dining room or a line for ordering. Customers have to order in advance on Chipotle’s app, website or third-party delivery platforms.
The new restaurant design is meant for urban areas, where real estate is more expensive and a full-size restaurant isn’t possible, but the first location will open in Highland Falls, New York, just outside of the gates of West Point. The design will also be able to accommodate large catering orders, which will have their own entry and lobby for pick-up.
The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated customers’ shift to ordering online, pushing Chipotle to try to optimize the experience as much as possible. In the third quarter, the company reported that digital sales more than tripled. CEO Brian Niccol said total digital orders could exceed $2.5 billion this year, more than double last year’s total.
Overview by Raymond Pucci, Director, Merchant Services at Mercator Advisory Group