How Chipotle built its $3 billion digital business

ByAnn Erika

May 11, 2022 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Chipotle Mexican Grill has a guiding approach when it arrives to digital income: Assembly consumers where they are.

And with a $3 billion electronic organization, that method seems to be operating. Chipotle Mexican Grill is the chain to enjoy when it arrives to participating with guests in techniques outdoors of going for walks into a cafe to get and pay out. 

In a Generate Digital Dive session last 7 days titled “Driving Profits by means of Omnichannel Engagement,” Nicole West, Chipotle’s vice president of digital strategy outlined some of the strategies the Newport Seaside, Calif.-based chain has used to construct its digital organization, supplying some hints of what’s to arrive.

“We’ve created this electronic program to allow prospects to entry Chipotle in approaches that make sense for them,” she said. “That can imply the buyers that use the pace and usefulness features, like saved favorites or quick reorder, that we have on our cell app, or pickup times that are as speedy as 10 minutes out and delivery to you inside of an hour. And most demographics across the state are partaking with gamification, which is a newer function within just our application and world wide web experience.”

About 40% of Chipotle’s profits occur from the electronic facet, even as in-cafe gross sales are rising put up-pandemic. The vast greater part of Chipotle shoppers use cell app or cell net to buy and pay out, West said, but Chipotle carries on to experiment with other channels, which include voice — with the automated concierge bot named Pepper dealing with people calls — and iMessage, for case in point.

Earlier this yr, Chipotle produced a constrained-time game on Roblox that authorized visitors to practically build a burrito to gain a coupon for totally free foodstuff in serious lifetime. The game experienced 4 million performs — and was hailed as a move into the metaverse or Net3 — though company couldn’t position an buy there.

West mentioned she was inundated with calls from good friends who wanted to franchise a Chipotle in the metaverse, she said. But what the metaverse is (or will be) has still to entirely get form. 

“We see terrific option in this space,” she claimed. “Exactly how we will continue to take part and present up is to be decided.”

Chipotle’s Benefits application, which as of the initially quarter experienced 28 million customers, has also been a “key enabler of the digital flywheel” at Chipotle, she explained. 

In March, the chain celebrated the Rewards program’s a few-12 months anniversary with a “Guac Mode” present of free of charge guacamole. The chain also gave away $100,000 in hard cash drops on Twitter in a partnership with Money Application, a marketing that drove a 35% raise in enrollment 7 days-around-7 days, she said.

Currently, Chipotle is hunting at personalizing engagement with Rewards users, tailoring messages to their particular tastes. A vegan would not get messages advertising and marketing meat things, for example. And the chain is searching at growing that personalization to the broader digital buyer base, West said.

Chipotle’s electronic product sales progress has also been supported by operational shifts. The chain has been expanding its Chipotlane push-via access, for example, which serve digital orders only. Now in about 400 dining places, Chipotlanes will be in 80% of the up to 250 new eating places to be included this year.

In 2020, the chain also debuted its initially Electronic Kitchen unit, which has no in-cafe ordering. West mentioned functions from those places — like the minimum or non-existent seating locations — will increasingly be used to traditional Chipotle locations in which suitable.

Speeding throughput is also a objective to enable improve digital income, and West said automation in the kitchen has been a emphasis. Chipotle is about to commence screening a new automated tortilla chip fryer named Chippy, and the company will also look at applying a related robotic arm as a resource to prepare avocados for the refreshing guacamole — both duties that human employees don’t adore.

Basically, Chipotle is looking at customer behavior and ways the chain can get rid of points of friction, she stated. 

“We never insert technologies for the sake of bells and whistles,” she said. “We seem for techniques to insert price to our customers’ life.”

To hear much more, West’s session can be watched on-demand at

Get in touch with Lisa Jennings at [email protected]

Abide by her on Twitter: @livetodineout




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