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Chipotle CDO Tabassum Zalotrawala on whether the brand's Chipotlanes rival QSR drive-thrus

Chipotle's Chief Development Officer talks about the brand’s next generation store, which is designed to meet the fast-casual chain’s growing billion-dollar digital business

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In Chicago, customers visiting Chipotle Mexican Grill’s newest location in the city don’t have to step inside the restaurant to grab their carryout order.

Instead, they can fetch their foil-wrapped burrito or Lifestyle bowl from a walk-up window.

It’s the fast-casual chain’s only restaurant with a curb-facing exterior counter designed for picking up off-premise orders. More could be on the way.

Chipotle-Prototype-Shelving-Newport.jpgThe Windy City location is one of a handful of Chipotle restaurants in the U.S. that have adopted a new store design geared for the chain’s growing billion-dollar digital business.

The prototype stores feature eco-friendly furniture, high-top tables, a lower glass partition along the dine-in queue and pick-up shelves near the front entrance. Shelves for to-go orders have been around for months, but prototype stores take a strategic approach by putting them closer to the entrance and digital make lines.

Operationally, the new design is easier for both customers and employees.

“It’s going really well. People are giving us a lot of kudos for the increased access and convenience,” Chief Development Officer Tabassum Zalotrawala said during a recent NRN Extra Serving podcast.

Roughly 60 of the company’s 2,500 restaurants have Chipotlanes. In 2020, Chipotle plans to open 150 to 165 new restaurants. About half of those new stores will be designed with a Chipotlane.

In quick-service, drive-thru lanes typically generate about 60-70% of total sales.

Could Chipotlanes eventually generate sales that rival QSR?

Listen to what Zalotrawala had to say about that and more.

Contact Nancy Luna at [email protected] 

Follow her on Twitter: @fastfoodmaven

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