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Chipotle Mexican Grill testing prototype stores geared for $1 billion digital business

Modern features include walk-up windows, Chipotlanes, barstools and redesigned dine-in order lines in Chicago, California, Ohio, Arizona

Chipotle Mexican Grill is testing store designs geared for the fast-casual chain’s growing digital business, which has reached $1 billion in sales, the company announced Thursday.

The new designs contain a mix of features including modern furniture, pick-up shelves near the front entrance, a walk-up window, and an endcap restaurant with a Chipotlane. The restaurants, both retrofits and new stores, are in Chicago, Cincinnati, Phoenix, Ariz., Tempe, Ariz., Newport Beach and San Diego.

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A newly remodeled standalone store in Newport Beach, Calif. near the chain’s headquarters recently reopened after a major top-to-bottom overhaul. Nation’s Restaurant News was the first to report on the new prototype store, which features pick-up shelves at the front entrance, high-top tables, community tables and a lower glass partition and open beverage coolers along the dine-in queue.

Stores in Chicago, Cincinnati and Phoenix are testing a walk-up window and Chipotlanes. The walk-up window debuts today at a store in the Wrigleyville area of Chicago. 

Chipotlanes, quick-service style car lanes designed for fetching online orders, have been mentioned frequently by CEO Brian Niccol since coming to Chipotle. At a recent investor conference, Niccol said the fast-casual chain currently has 25 restaurants with Chipotlanes. That number should grow to 60 by the end of the year, he added. 

Chipotle said it will measure the performance of each new look by tracking factors that include transactions and guest feedback.

“While we are staying true to Chipotle’s heritage, we are also excited to integrate new, innovative physical features into the restaurant that complement our growing digital business,” Tabassum Zalotrawala, chief development officer, said in a statement.  “Our eco-friendly, natural aesthetic and locally sourced approach to this design builds on our strong brand values and mission of cultivating a better world.” 

To get a closer look at Chipotle’s new storefront, take a look NRN's exclusive images: Inside look: Chipotle Mexican Grill debuts modern prototype store

Contact Nancy Luna at nancy.lun[email protected] 

Follow her on Twitter: @fastfoodmaven

Updated: This story was edited to clarify the number of designs in test.

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