Chipotle has announced its first digital-only restaurant, potentially disrupting the restaurant industry during one of its most challenging periods.
One of the more controversial COVID mitigation measures has been curtailing restaurants and bars. Around the world, customers and establishments have protested, and in some cases defied, closure orders. In spite of the unpopularity of such moves, however, experts have continued to warn of the dangers of dining in. In fact, a new study by MIT Technology Review has labeled restaurants “covid hot spots.”
Although not necessarily the focus, Chipotle seems to have the answer to COVID challenges as it prepares to debut Digital Kitchen, its first digital-only restaurant. The new concept will not have a dining room, or a front service line. Instead, guests will place their order in advance using the Chipotle app, Chipotle.com or third-party delivery options. Orders can be picked up via the restaurant lobby.
“The Digital Kitchen incorporates innovative features that will complement our rapidly growing digital business, while delivering a convenient and frictionless experience for our guests,” said Curt Garner, Chief Technology Officer of Chipotle. “With digital sales tripling year over year last quarter, consumers are demanding more digital access than ever before so we’re constantly exploring new ways to enhance the experience for our guests.”
Chipotle’s new restaurants will likely be a big hit and help the company expand in locations where full-sized restaurants are not feasible. In addition, it should help the company weather any future COVID crackdowns.