Delivery and drive-thru continue to drive sales for QSRs (Quick Service Restaurants) and fast casual brands. Chipotle Mexican Grill is a prime example as the restaurant has pivoted to a digital sales platform that focuses on delivery and in-store pickup. The company reports that about 50% of their sales originate online and via their mobile app.
Chipotle has dedicated kitchen space that just handles digital orders and they are also adding more drive-thru capacity. Starbucks represents another fast casual shop that is leveraging the digital ordering channel to jolt sales. Expect other restaurants to follow as consumers want faster service as well as having contactless payment choices.
The following excerpt from a Nation’s Restaurant News article reports more on the topic:
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.’s digital sales were up 177.2% in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, reaching nearly half of total sales for the brand, the company reported Tuesday.
The Newport Beach, Calif.-based fast-casual brand said it opened 61 new restaurants, including two relocations during the quarter, and closed one. Of those new restaurants in the quarter, 42 included a Chipotlane drive-thru. Of the 161 new restaurants opened during the year, 100 (or 62%) included a Chipotlane. With the success of off-premise sales, Chipotle plans to open 200 new stores in 2021, and 70% of those openings will have a Chipotlane.
“These results reaffirm our strategy of an accelerated pivot toward Chipotlane insight,” Chipotle chief financial officer John Hartung said during Tuesday’s earnings call. “Not only will this enhanced customer access and convenience, but it also helps increase new restaurant sales, margins and returns.”
Overview by Raymond Pucci, Director, Merchant Services at Mercator Advisory Group