You’re About to See A Lot More Chipotle Drive-Thrus

The chain is planning to open about 200 more "Chipotlanes" this year.

February 24, 2021
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1005309366

Photo by: Bloomberg/Getty

Bloomberg/Getty

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Chipotle is making it easier and safer for customers to purchase its delicious tacos, burrito bowls and more.

The fast-casual chain announced earlier this month that it plans to continue to add drive-thru lanes to many of its locations around the country, continuing a practice that began in 2020 in response to the health crisis. Chipotle has even dubbed these accessible routes “Chipotlanes.”

According to Chipotle’s fourth-quarter earnings report, which was recently released online, the success of the drive-thru lanes was so apparent that Chipotle now plans to add them to nearly three quarters of its new stores in the coming year.

Additionally, of the 61 new restaurants (including two relocations) that Chipotle opened in the final three months of 2020, 42 of them included a Chipotlane. Overall, the eatery had a total of 170 Chipotlanes as of December 2020 and intends to add even more of them.

“These formats continue to enhance customer access and convenience while also helping increase new restaurant sales, margins, and returns,” the report noted.

In 2021, Chipotle intends to open approximately 200 new locations. Per the earnings report, the chain will ensure 70 percent of those will feature Chipotlanes so customers can get their food to-go.

This convenient new take on the typical drive-thru lane allows customers to order ahead online or through the Chipotle app. They can then head to their local Chipotle and pick up their orders in the lane without ever having to step foot outside their car.

While indoor dining across much of the country has been negatively impacted by the pandemic, Chipotle’s digital reach is stronger than ever before. More specifically, the company noted that digital orders saw a 174.1 percent increase year over year meaning people were opting for online orders in 2020 much more than in 2019.

The company has recently leaned into the digital space in other ways as well. For example, earlier this month Chipotle debuted a limited-edition menu item and released two new shirts inspired by the famous “Chipotle is my life” kid.

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