Five Chipotle restaurants in the Dallas area are going to be adding drive-thrus, according to the Dallas News. It's a rarity for the Mexican chain that's better known for its long, slow moving lines inside.
And like any idea somebody else has done a million times before, they are slightly changing it, repackaging it and calling it by their own gimmicky name: a "Chipotlane".
The drive-thru area is going to be specifically set up for customers who order their food online or on the app only, and won't be like a traditional drive-thru where customers place orders at a menu board.
As of now, there is only one "Chipotlane" in North Texas, with a second about to open this week. Three more are going to be installed this winter, with more in the Dallas-Fort Worth area potentially on the agenda.
"Our region will continue to be a focus in 2020," a Chipotle spokeswoman said.
The lanes come at a time when digital ordering is at all-time highs. Across the industry, third party delivery has never been bigger and delivery sales are soon expected to eclipse on-premise restaurant sales by 2023. Chipotle currently uses delivery services like DoorDash, Postmates and Tapingo. As of February, digital sales made up about 13% of the company's total business.
The new drive-thru lanes will be set up to benefit these delivery services. The company said in a statement: "...with Chipotlanes, our delivery partners will have a faster way to pick up orders and get them in the hands of hungry customers."
Earlier this month, we wrote about how McDonald's was replacing more humans by using drive-thru AI and, in July, we also talked about how drive-thrus would soon be using license plate recognition to help customize menu choices and track customers.