2020 has been a year full of changes, both for customers and for retailers and restaurants that have had to adjust their services to these new shifts in consumption. What change has Chipotle just made?
Chipotle Mexican Grill will open its first “digital” restaurant with which it intends to reach more areas that do not have the necessary infrastructure to install dining areas and, also, as a strategy to boost online sales.
With the coronavirus crisis, online orders increased during the last quarter, so now Chipotle wants to take advantage of the fact “that consumers are demanding greater digital access", and find ways to improve the experience for its customers, said Curt Garner, the chain's chief technology officer in a statement.
The new restaurant was opened on Saturday, November 14 and is located in Highland Falls in New York.
In this new restaurant, customers must place their order in advance through Chipotle.com, the chain's app, or through the food delivery platforms, and then customers can pick up their orders in the lobby.
This new "digital" kitchen will also handle large orders for the catering service that can be picked up at a lounge that has its own entrance.
Restaurants have faced state closures and social distancing measures that have limited the number of diners inside restaurants, causing more than 16,000 restaurants to close permanently as of June.
As restrictions remain, Americans have chosen to order online and take advantage of various food delivery options.
After the Covid-19 pandemic, "virtual" restaurants will be increasingly common as digital platforms offer a faster and safer service for customers and give owners the possibility to pay cheaper rents, according to a report from the National Restaurant Association.