Chipotle is getting into the drive-thru business, albeit with a nontraditional twist.
On Wednesday, CEO Brian Niccol said on a call with investors that Chipotle planned to open "a few dozen more" mobile-order pickup lanes, called "Chipotlanes." Most of these will be at new locations, as opposed to adding the drive-thru lanes to existing stores.
Niccol explained that Chipotlanes functioned essentially as drive-thrus, with the major difference being that customers needed to place their orders on the Chipotle app or on an online form. After placing the order, customers are to pull up to a window at the specified pickup time, allowing them to pick up orders without leaving their car.
"Arguably, it will be the fastest way to [get] Chipotle -- going through the Chipotlane," Niccol said.
Chipotle already has added Chipotlanes in 10 U.S. locations.
According to executives, adding the Chipotlanes helps boost both digital orders and overall orders. Additionally, Niccol said the Chipotlanes could allow Chipotle to experiment with different types of stores, potentially including those more focused on takeout.