Alicia Kelso | Nov 16, 2022 | Nation’s Restaurant News

Chipotle Mexican Grill today announced the opening of its 500th restaurant with a Chipotlane, the brand’s restaurant model that includes a digital order drive-thru pick-up lane. The milestone location is in Louisville, Kentucky.

Chipotle has made Chipotlanes a priority in the past couple of years as consumers’ digital ordering habits accelerated during the pandemic. The company’s executives have noted that the models generate 15% to 20% higher sales than traditional stores, as well as quicker returns. As such, the company is targeting between 255 to 285 new restaurants in 2023, with at least 80% of those including a Chipotlane.

Chipotlanes will also be a priority as the chain looks to hit a 7,000-unit footprint in North America, from its current count of just over 3,000.

“We are thrilled to celebrate this landmark Chipotlane opening,” Tabassum Zalotrawala, Chief Development Officer, said in a statement. “Chipotlanes are the digital drive thru of the future and a key piece of our growth strategy as we plan to more than double our restaurant count over the long term to achieve 7,000 restaurants or more in North America.”

The Chipotlane format was first introduced in the U.S. in early 2018.

Additionally, Chipotle recently partnered with, formerly Waitr, a regional marketplace partner that provides delivery service in more than 1,000 cities, mainly in the Southeast and Northeast. According to the company, the partnership is intended to provide a timely delivery experience from more than 600 Chipotle restaurants on the East Coast, South and Midwest, in addition to Chipotle’s existing national delivery partnerships.