Bites in the fast lane
Hungry San Antonians in a hurry will think these new Chipotle concepts are cool beans.
California-based Chipotle Mexican Grill is rolling out its innovative online ordering and pickup system, dubbed Chipotlanes, with three new locations in Alamo City.
The first restaurant opened Monday, November 1 at 2741 SW Military Dr. The second location opened Tuesday, November 2 at 6302 FM 78 in Woodlake, and the third opens in the coming months at 3155 SE Military Dr.
Essentially a drive-thru digital order pickup lane, Chipotlanes are the newest way for burrito and bowl lovers to grub down — without having to come face-to-face with any actual burrito baristas.
The service is relatively new for the fast-food giant; by early 2019, Chipotle boasted 10 U.S. locations offering Chipotlanes. It currently has 280 Chipotlanes in the U.S. The two new locations and the third coming-soon spot are the first Chipotlanes in San Antonio.
More are coming to areas nationwide, with the company saying Chipotlanes are expected to be included at more than 60 percent of new Chipotle restaurants.
According to a report from industry publication Insider, Chipotle’s digital sales constituted more than half of its sales in 2020, thanks in part to distancing needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the pandemic still not entirely in check, and with consumers increasingly engaging with digital ordering, such innovations in the fast-casual market are likely to continue.
Here’s how Chipotlanes work: Customers place their order in advance on the Chipotle website or through the Chipotle app, then just drive up to their Chipotlane location and grab their grub.
“Chipotlanes differ from the traditional Chipotle layout by increasing access and convenience with a speedy and seamless guest experience,” a release from the company notes.
“Customers want convenience and appreciate the ability to personally retrieve their orders without leaving their car,” says Scott Boatwright, Chipotle’s chief restaurant officer. “With a dedicated team and kitchen devoted to digital orders, we need to continue to grow our workforce to support the increasing demand, especially in locations featuring a Chipotlane.”
To that end, Chipotle is hiring at all San Antonio area locations, offering crew bonuses, access to a debt-free college degree program, and mental-health care for employees and their families. Learn more here.
In the meantime, hungry locals can also support the National Young Farmers Coalition by rounding up their Chipotle bill to the next highest dollar amount through the Round Up for Real Change feature in the Chipotle app or website.