Chipotle Finally Gives Into Delivery

Chipotle. The name itself is enough to get burrito lovers salivating. But now, loyal Chipotle bingers have more reason for mind explosion: The fast casual brand is launching delivery. 

Chipotle recently announced a partnership with Postmates,* a third-party, on-demand delivery service that currently has presence in 67 markets. (So, if you’re not in one of these cities, this perk probably does not apply to you — but may the odds be ever in your favor.)

Despite the fact that guac is extra and that pork has become a limited menu item, Chipotle has never had a problem with championing fast casual Fresh Mex. And its recent earnings report has the numbers to back it up: Sales grew 10.4% in same-store sales for Q1 2015.

But Chipotle executives had a hard time accepting the idea that, if the option for delivery was put on the table, orders would not be as fresh as they would be in the restaurant. After all, the foundation of fast casual is heavily built on its fresh, made-to-order appeal.

What changed? Many delivery services, including Postmates, were already delivering Chipotle orders to customers before this official partnership began. Chipotle execs even tried shutting down these outside services, says Chipotle’s Chief Creative Officer, as reported by re/code.

In fact, before the partnership, Postmates allegedly delivered $500K worth of Chipotle orders just in the first quarter of 2015. There was clearly a demand for delivery. 

Perhaps this new type of relationship will give Chipotle more control or, as many have speculated, lower the cost. Because Postmates is a third-party source, it’s not exactly cheap. PandoDaily’s David Holmes says a chicken fajita-burrito in Brooklyn set him back $26.06! Aside from demand and control aspects, only time will tell what’s in it for Chipotle. One thing is for sure: Brands must shift to consumer habits. Otherwise, they’ll be missing the conversation.

 

*If you recall, Postmates is the service making Starbucks coffee delivery happen. They, too, inked an official partnership recently.