Let no chicken sandwich overshadow the fact that 2019 has been a big year for Chipotle, too. After a 2018 sales slump, it’s been staging a comeback on multiple fronts, most notably by expanding mental health coverage for employees and declining to enter the fast food breakfast fray in order to focus on prepping fresh ingredients for the lunch rush. It’s even recently installed Chipotlanes at several locations nationwide, a drive thru for customers to pick up their mobile orders in their car. Now, Chipotle has announced in a press release, its adapting to modern ordering habits by piloting a walk-up window, a pedestrian version of the Chipotlane right on the sidewalk where employees hand off your online order.
As CNBC notes, digital ordering now accounts for a fifth of Chipotle’s total sales, so this innovation is likely to expand to more locations in the coming year. Right now, the chain is piloting the new walk-up windows in Chicago, Cincinnati, Phoenix, Newport Beach, and San Diego. “By better suiting our restaurants to accommodate the digital business, we’re able to finalize orders more effectively and provide a better overall experience for our guests,” Curt Garner, Chipotle’s chief technology officer, said in a statement.