How Chipotle's Investment in Digital is Paying Off

Chipotle's online ordering |   Chipotle

Chipotle's online ordering | Chipotle

One of the latest strategies by Chipotle to reclaim its top spot in the fast casual sector is to implement more digital technologies. The restaurant's goal is to make the ordering process even more convenient for guests.

One of the ways the chain is focusing on digital is it has added another line dedicated to only online orders. Starbucks, the king of mobile orders, also has a group of team members dedicated to solely mobile orders at each store.

Chipotle is also testing having online only pick-up drive-thru lanes to make the pick-up for online orderers even quicker.

"We are definitely under a digital transformation at Chipotle," said Brian Niccol, Chipotle's CEO to "CNN Business."

Evidently, the investment in digital tech has paid off. Digital sales grew by 66 percent in the last three months of 2018. The company's stock has spiked by 35 percent over the last year and in the last quarter of 2018, restaurant sales grew by 6 percent.

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

Read more about Chipotle’s push to promote digital ordering at “CNN Business” now.

It's been a long road of recovery for the fresh Mex fast casual after its food safety crisis back in 2015, but then the chain hired the former Taco Bell CEO Brian Niccol and continues to make power moves as part of its comeback play.

In 2019, the chain started the year out with a bang by rolling out lifestyle bowls. These new menu items are keto, Whole30, and paleo-friendly. Even though more restaurants are offering meals that are diet friendly, it's still difficult for those eating keto, paleo or Whole30 to find quick food options on the go. Chipotle is one of the first chain's to cater to these popular diets, making the restaurant one of the only options for those who are tired of the constant meal prep.

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.

Chipotle is Catering to Those on Diets like Whole30 and Keto With These Lifestyle Bowls

Although it's been a long road of recovery for the fresh Mex fast casual Chipotle Grill after its food safety crisis back in 2015, analyst Andy Barish recently predicted that investing in the chain is a smart move in 2019.

And Barish may be right.

Chipotle just rolled out new menu items that are keto, Whole30, and the paleo-friendly– just in time for those diners with healthy New Year's resolutions.

"Nobody wants to hear about your New Year’s resolutions. And with our new menu shortcuts nobody will have to (because your mouth will be full). Meet our new #keto, #Whole30, #paleo and #highprotein bowls," tweeted Chipotle.

There are now four new Chipotle Lifestyle menu items. The Whole30 bowl is a salad bowl with carnitas, fajita veggies, salsa and guac with no sugar, grains, dairy, and legumes.

The Keto bowl features carnitas, red salsa, shredded cheese, guacamole, and romaine lettuce.

Even though more restaurants are offering meals that are diet friendly, it's still difficult for those eating keto, paleo or Whole30 to find quick food options on the go. So this is a clever move by Chipotle to cater to those healthy eaters.

“Now more than ever, Americans are embracing new and varied approaches to healthy living and wellness. We’ve watched guests custom create lifestyle-specific bowls when ordering in our restaurants, so it made sense to offer delicious options via our online channels that help people easily order bowls with real ingredients that fit their wellness goals,” said Chris Brandt, Chief Marketing Officer at Chipotle.

Will this lead to a boost in sales for the fast casual chain?

Read more about the new menu items at "Forbes" now.

The last time Chipotle rolled out a new menu item, its queso, it did not go as well. But then the chain hired the former Taco Bell CEO Brian Niccol.

Check out this Plugged In episode from the past above where Host Paul Barron gives the brand some advice on how to recover. Did the chain make any of these much-needed changes?