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NRN editors discuss Chipotle’s first union, Panera’s new drive-thru tech

Plus, hear from Matthew de Gruyter about Next Level Burger and the future of food


This week on Extra Serving, a Nation’s Restaurant News podcast, NRN editors Holly Petre, Sam Oches, and Leigh Anne Zinsmeister spoke about Chipotle’s first union.

The first Chipotle store unionized late last week in Lansing, Mich. This was after the first store that voted to unionize was closed by Chipotle due to a lack of employees last month. The NRN team discussed what this means for Chipotle and what it means for the industry that another top 10 chain is seeing union efforts by employees.

Also, the team discussed Panera’s new drive-thru AI technology. At two locations in upstate New York, Panera Bread is testing AI technology at its drive-thru locations to enhance drive-thru capabilities. The team discussed what this means for the drive-thru worker and the beleaguered drive-thru.

This week’s interview is Matthew de Gruyter, co-founder and CEO of Next Level Burger, an Oregon-based chain focusing on plant-based burgers and environmental sustainability. If you want to hear even more from Matthew, come and see him speak at CREATE this September in Denver where the newest Next Level Burger just opened.

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