Whether you wrap it, roll it, or bowl it, the new Chipotlane in Lodi will allow customers to cruise through the drive-thru for their fajita fix.
The new Chipotle Mexican Grill, located at the Reynolds Ranch shopping center, will be the first restaurant location in California to offer the convenience of accessing Chipotle through a "Chipotlane" drive-thru.
“This was the perfect location to create the first Chipotlane in California, as it provided an opportunity to increase both convenience and access to Chipotle for customers in Lodi and neighboring communities,” Chipotle spokeswoman Carson Ramsay said.
Unlike traditional drive-thru windows, customers cannot order food at a Chipotlane. Instead, customers use Chipotle’s website or mobile app to place their order, and then drive through the Chipotlane to pick it up.
Back in February, Chipotle Mexican Grill CEO Brian Niccol announced the company would utilize the Chipotlanes to improve customer experience by decreasing wait times inside the restaurants, while boosting digital sales through their app and website.
“Digital orders are at an all-time high and we consider Chipotlanes an extension of digital-enabled convenience. We want to make it easier and more convenient for customers to pick up their orders,” Ramsay said.
Chipotle has already rolled out the pickup windows at 10 of its locations in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
Niccol believes the launch of Chipotlanes will continue to drive revenue for the company while maintaining its appeal to younger generations.
The decision to employ a modern technical approach to the pickup lane versus using a traditional speaker box system was designed as the popularity of mobile apps drive dining sales.
According to Business Insider Intelligence reports, mobile app and smartphone food orders will make up nearly 11% of restaurant sales in quick service, and a report published by Allied Market Research estimates the global food delivery mobile app market is expected to generate $16.6 billion by 2023.
“A large segment of our customer base opts for delivery, and with Chipotlanes, our delivery partners will have a faster way to pick up orders and get them in the hands of hungry customers,” Niccol said.
Niccol, who served as the CEO of Taco Bell from 2015 to 2018, said the biggest challenge Chipotle faced with consumers was access to the restaurant.
“One way to access is to not have to have people get out of their cars,” Niccol said in a statement. “You order from your app, pull up to the window and out comes Chipotle.”
The chain can accommodate the extra orders, with a designated prep station designated for the drive-thru orders.
Chipotle offers customers the option to build their burritos, tacos, and salads in an assembly line fashion. It also advertises that when possible, stores use organic and local produce as well as meat from animals raised without the use of antibiotics or added hormones.
At Chipotle, customers get to choose between several ingredients to make their meal. People first decide on corn or flour tortillas or taco shells and between black and pinto beans.
The rice has cilantro and lime, and they serve chicken, steak, barbacoa and carnitas. Other toppings include fajita vegetables, cheese, guacamole, sour cream and lettuce.
The restaurant also offers chips and four types of salsa: fresh tomato, roasted chili-corn, tomatillo red chili, and tomatillo green chili.
The Reynolds Ranch Chipotle is expected to open before the end of the year; the hours of operation will be 10:45 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.