Chipotle Mexican Grill, which has seen digital sales soar through a partnership with DoorDash, has added Uber Eats as a new delivery partner - a move made as dine-in operations come to near halt in major cities and states across the U.S.
With federal and local government authorities recommending people avoid eating out at restaurants to limit the spread of novel coronavirus, chains and indepedent restaurants have been shoring up carryout and delivery operations all week. Dozens of chains, including Chipotle and McDonald’s, have already closed dining rooms for sit down guests. On Wednesday, KFC said it would move to a "to go" model at its U.S. restaurants.
On Sunday, the Newport Beach, Calif.-based fast-casual chain began offering free delivery for orders made through the chain’s digital channels. Those orders are fulfilled by DoorDash.
Chief Marketing Officer Chris Brandt said the chain hooked up with Uber Eats because guests “more than ever” need access to “real food delivered directly to their doorstep.”
"We're excited to expand our delivery footprint through a partnership with Uber Eats, which will make it even easier for fans to get the food they love without leaving the house,” Brandt said in a statement.
Third-party delivery companies have been criticized for hurting restaurants by charging hefty commission fees and not sharing data. That has led many chains to work exclusively with one main partner, as it allows them to negotiate lower rates. But, as jurisdictions across the country mandate off-premise models to combat the spread of coronavirus, third-party marketplaces like DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats have adjusted delivery and commission fees to help both restaurants and consumers.
Chipotle is waiving delivery fees made through its digital channels through the end of March. Delivery fees made through Uber Eats in March will also be waived for orders of $10 or more.
"At Uber Eats, we are on a mission to make eating well effortless for everyone, everywhere," Janelle Sallenave, Head of Uber Eats, US & Canada, said in a statement. "The fans have asked for it, and we could not be more excited to finally deliver delicious Chipotle burritos, bowls, and sides within the comfort of their own homes. We know that adding Chipotle to our current offerings will bring joy to our eaters with the tap of a button."
Most of the major third-party delivery operators including Uber Eats, DoorDash and Postmates have given users the option for "no contact" deliveries. In fact, this week DoorDash made its "Leave it at my door" delivery instruction the default option for all deliveries.
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