Chipotle Mexican Grill completed the rollout of its “Smarter Pickup Times” technology to all its restaurants that offer digital ordering. The advanced technology allows customers who order digitally to benefit from shorter and more accurate pickup times and the ability to reserve a future pickup time. The technology enhances all forms of digital ordering including web ordering as well as the company’s ordering apps for iOS and Android. “Smarter Pickup Times” also improves the company’s ability to process more digital orders without disrupting service or throughput in its restaurants.
Chipotle has extensively tested the “Smarter Pickup Times” system in restaurants around the country. In tests, the company saw a reduction of wait times for digital orders by as much as 50 percent, and an increase in the total number of digital orders to record levels.
“Most people don’t know that nearly every Chipotle has an extra make-line in the back of the restaurant where orders can be prepared without disrupting service on the main line,” says Mark Crumpacker, chief marketing and development officer at Chipotle. “Smarter Pickup Times enhances this capability by dynamically scheduling orders and generating accurate wait times based on the current volume of orders. This allows us to prepare more digital orders while simultaneously improving the customer experience.”
Chipotle’s “Smarter Pickup Times” technology dynamically monitors digital order capacity to ensure that each restaurant can effectively manage the digital orders flowing into the second make-line. The company is also in the process of rolling out an enhanced version of this second make-line that will greatly improve ergonomics for the teams staffing the line, and allow for even greater order volume and accuracy.
“We have been evaluating all of our digital offerings with an eye toward removing friction,” says Curt Garner, chief information officer at Chipotle. “That started with a redesign of our website to make it responsive to whatever device a customer is using—a computer, tablet or smart phone—followed by online catering and additional out of store payment options, and continues with the completion of our ‘Smarter Pickup Times’ initiative. With this change, we have reduced the wait time for digital orders and are able to keep our restaurants from being overwhelmed with digital orders, particularly at peak times.”
Chipotle is currently running a marketing campaign to drive digital orders that includes in-store promotions, social media advertising, search optimization, and digital advertising. Moving forward, nearly all of the company’s digital advertising will link customers directly to digital ordering.