Chipotle Mexican Grill is leaning heavily on the flexibility of its app and build-your-own meal menu during the coronavirus pandemic.
This week, the Newport Beach, Calif.-based chain continued that trend by highlighting special customization tools on the brand’s app. The feature, called Complete Customization, allows customers to swipe on each ingredient to choose portion sizes. New options include light, normal, or extra. In some cases, such as with beans or rice, consumers can choose on the “side.”
he company has offered customization on items such as proteins, where customers can ask for double portions at an extra cost. Consumers have also been able to split proteins by, for example, choosing half chicken and half steak. Now, customers can swipe from left to right to customize any ingredient within the app, Chipotle announced Tuesday.
Tressie Lieberman, vice president of Digital and Off Premise at Chipotle, said previously app users were only able to modify three ingredients to be light or extra, per order. With Complete Customization, all ingredients can now be modified as "light" or "extra" at no additional charge, excluding proteins, guacamole and Queso Blanco.
“Even though we had customization capabilities, we wanted to spotlight it," she said. "Building awareness of customization is key to helping customers understand that they can get the same level of personalization in the app as they can in the restaurant."
Curt Garner, chief technology officer, said: “The interactions between our employees and customers moving down the line is so important, and Complete Customization lets our fans replicate the nuances of their favorite orders digitally.”
The company is promoting the hyper-customization options available on its app through a series of TikTok videos that show “menu hacks” for making do-it-yourself nachos and a taco salad.
Throughout the pandemic, Chipotle has seen gains in loyalty members, delivery and mobile orders. Promotions have been heavily linked to the brand’s app, where margins are greater for pickup and direct delivery compared to third-party delivery.
Zero cost for delivery fees remains a key incentive for consumers at every chain. Chipotle offered free delivery though the end of April. It is now offering $1 delivery through May 31 on any order of $10 or more made through the company’s app or Chipotle.com.
Prior to the pandemic, digital sales accounted for 19.6% of total sales at the chain. In the first quarter, digital sales grew 80.8%, reaching a record $372 million. Digital sales accounted for 26.3% of total sales.
The company added 4 million more rewards members to its app during the quarter, many of whom have been the heaviest users during the pandemic, the company said during its first quarter conference call.
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