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Trending this week: Chipotle Mexican Grill tests adding walk-up windows to existing locations

This week on, the top story was, NRN editors discuss the cult of celebrity chefs, the Wendyverse, Chipotle’s new walk-up windows, Panera’s new format. This week’s guest is Owen Klein, head of menu development for CKE, parent to Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s, who spoke with Thorn about menu development for the chains’ new Jurassic Park-themed menus.

In other news, New restaurants for Chipotle Mexican Grill will very likely include a drive-thru Chipotlane or potentially a walk-up window to speed throughput and add convenience. Now the fast-casual chain is looking at converting existing units to drive sales with these margin-boosting features. Tabassum Zalotrawala, Chipotle’s chief development officer, said in an interview Wednesday the chain is looking to optimize its existing 3,000-unit portfolio, first to assess whether it’s possible to add a drive-thru Chipotlane.

Also, Every year, Nation’s Restaurant News ranks the largest restaurant chains by domestic systemwide sales, giving a detailed look at the biggest players in the industry. This year, we once again partnered with Datassential and its Firefly platform to provide information for 500 chains. In this gallery, get sales and growth data for restaurant chains ranked No. 50 to No. 1 in the United States in 2021 ranked by domestic systemwide sales. See restaurants from In-N-Out to McDonald’s, which had $45 billion in sales — a 13.8% increase year-over-year.

See what else was trending on this week. 

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