Chipotlane

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Chipotle’s digital sales more than doubled in the first months of 2021, making up over half of all transactions at the fast-casual restaurant chain, the company said Wednesday.

Online sales grew 133.9% in the first quarter compared to the same period last year, amounting to $869.8 million, the company said in its quarterly earnings. Just over half of those digital sales were order ahead transaction, meaning in-store and Chipotlane pick-ups.

The company’s digital sales surge came as the coronavirus continued to spread this year, forcing restaurants to close dining rooms and focus on take-out and delivery options. 

Chipotle attributed much of its growth to Chipotlanes, the fast casual chain’s version of drive-thrus. More than half of the new Chipotle locations had drive-thrus this quarter, and the company says they “perform very well and are helping enhance guest access and convenience, as well as increase new restaurant sales, margins, and returns.”

Read more: Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol answers 9 questions about the chain’s future including the fight for delivery profits, menu innovation, and franchising

Chipotlanes have been in the works for a few years. By early 2019, Chipotle had 10 US Chipotlanes, and executives told Insider that they planned to open dozens more, while also investing in digital ordering. Chipotle’s digital sales exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic, making up more than half of sales in 2020. Now, the brand is investing in building more online-order only “Chipotlanes” and opening new locations. CEO Brian Niccol said in an earnings call that Chipotle plans to more than double its locations.

Fast-food and fast-casual brands across the country are optimizing drive-thrus. Drive-thru orders have grown across the fast-food industry since the pandemic closed many dining rooms. McDonald’s, already a drive-thru heavy hitter with 25,000 worldwide, says that 70% of sales in top markets are drive-thru orders. Even salad chain Sweetgreen is jumping on the trend.

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Source:: Business Insider

      

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Chipotle’s digital sales exploded this year, making up over half of all orders thanks to new drive-thru locations

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