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Chipotle optimists have had queso on the mind in recent days. And for good cause. News that more than 350 stores would begin piloting the once-mythical menu item in August is sure to shake up the Mexican fast casual scene, both in the near future and possibly for years to come. Depending, of course, on the product’s popularity, effect on supply chain logistics, and if it can extend nationwide by mid-September, as hinted by executives.
But, in Tuesday’s conference call following the chain’s second-quarter earnings release, CMO Mark Crumpacker alluded to another feature guests have been clamoring for over the years: drive thru.
Speaking about enhancing “the Chipotle experience,” Crumpacker said, “it includes changes to the design of our existing and new restaurants to optimize them for digital orders, new types of ordering formats, and new menu items. This includes the first ever Chipotle vehicular pickup window that will be opening at an Ohio restaurant this fall.”
This was briefly touched on again by Curtis Evander Garner, Chipotle’s chief digital and information officer. One feature of the new tech-enabled second make line coming to stores will be completion notifications and “arrival detection for the vehicular pickup window.”
Is there a difference between a “vehicular pickup window” and the traditional drive thru? It’s hard to say. Chipotle did not specify exactly which Ohio location would debut the technology or if it plans to bring it to other states and stores.