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NRN editors discuss Chipotle’s technology ambitions and ghost kitchens going brick and mortar

Plus, hear from Jet Tila, corporate chef for Pei Wei and Food Network star


This week on the Extra Serving podcast, Nation’s Restaurant News editors Holly Petre, Sam Oches, and Bret Thorn talked about Chipotle’s new $50 million acquisition fund for startup technology companies.

The team discusses how Chipotle has become Taco Bell-ified under Brian Niccol’s leadership, becoming more reliant on technology and moving away from its emphasis on farmers. The editors discuss the potential that the fund could hold for the future of Chipotle and how it fits in the mold of other major restaurant companies.

Plus, the team discusses the trend of “reverse ghost kitchens,” or ghost kitchens that are morphing into brick-and-mortar restaurants. Oches brings up that it was the original intent of ghost kitchens to be a test for new markets before opening a brick-and-mortar unit, but the pandemic changed everything. What does this new flow mean for virtual restaurants?

Also, Thorn spoke with Jet Tila, the Food Network Star and — for the past few years — the corporate chef for Pei Wei. They spoke about how Tila became a corporate chef and his new cookbook.

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