Chipotle Tests Drive-Thru Lanes to Promote Online Ordering

Chipotle App Welcoem Screen | Shutterstock

Chipotle App Welcoem Screen | Shutterstock

Earlier this month, we reported that Chipotle was making a major investment in digital to improve the guest experience.

Online ordering sales grew by 66 percent in the last three months of 2018 and in the last quarter of 2018, the restaurant's sales grew by 6 percent.

The restaurant's recent moves to recover have prompted investors to buy the chain's stock. Chipotle's shares have increased by 35 percent over the last year.

In the same earnings call earlier in the month, Chipotle also announced that it was also testing having online only pick-up drive-thru lanes.

These lanes are intended to make it even faster for guests to get their orders by pairing the convenience of both digital ordering and drive-thru pick-up.

"Arguably, it will be the fastest way to get Chipotle — going through the Chipotlane," said Brian Niccol, Chipotle's CEO.

The push to promote online ordering certainly appeals to the chain's target demographic– millennials. Similar to Panera Bread's rapid pick-up stations, guests make their orders through their mobile phones and then pick-up the food at the drive-thru lane dedicated to strictly online orders.

However, since this limits human interaction, this is making a negative impact on the staff tips.

"Reliance on technology — in the service industry especially — typically has some kind of human toll. Last year some Starbucks baristas said mobile ordering was cutting into their tips (users typically can set their tip percentage right in the app when placing an order, but may simply choose not to for whatever reason)," writes "Forbes."

Will the chain roll the drive-thrus out to more stores? Read more about the new drive-thru lanes at “Forbes” now.

Chipotle also teased that it has more plans in the works too.

"We're definitely just getting started," said Niccol to "CNN" earlier this month. "There's still so much opportunity in front of us, and there's still a lot of work to be done."

In 2019, the chain started the year out with a bang by rolling out lifestyle bowls. These new menu items are bowls that are keto, Whole30, and paleo-friendly. On a recent episode of The Barron Report, Host Paul Barron explains why he thinks the chain's recent introduction of its Lifestyle Bowls was a slamdunk. Watch the video below to learn more about Chipotle's latest campaign to appeal to health-conscious eaters.