“Based on the early success of Chipotlane, we shifted our real estate strategy to seek more sites that can accommodate a Chipotlane,” Hartung said. He added that due to the Chipotlane’s longer construction time, the company’s anticipated new restaurants for 2019 would be on the lower end of its projected 140–155 range, with some Chipotlane locations getting pushed to a 2020 open. Looking forward to next year, Hartung said that of 150–165 planned new restaurants for 2020, more than half will have drive thru.
BTIG analyst Peter Saleh wrote previously these additions could generate nearly $3 million in sales “once awareness has been established, with a cost to build only slightly higher” at about $850,000. “Given the higher sales volume and 50 percent higher digital mix [about 27 percent], we believe restaurant-level margins would be in the mid-25 percent range or higher, compared with the system average of around 21 percent,” he wrote. "This suggests cash-on-cash returns north of 80 percent for Chipotlane units and strongly supporting the decision to prioritize these units going forward.”
Chipotlanes don’t have menuboards and guests can’t order at a pull-up spot. Customers place mobile orders and then roll up to grab their orders without having to go inside the restaurant. It’s an effective tool for third-party delivery drivers as well. Delivery is live at more than 97 percent of Chipotle units currently.