Posts tagged with "Chipotle"

Sweetgreen will pilot a drive-in restaurant as part of suburban push

December 17, 2020

These are the “salad days” for the restaurant chain Sweetgreen, which has been been offering contact-free delivery and pickup at its 91 restaurants throughout the pandemic, CNBC reports..

Now, Chief Concept Officer Nic Jammet says that the business pivot that the company has taken since the virus took hold in the USA earlier this year has accelerated its decision to pilot test a new type of eatery—slated to open next winter in Highlands Ranch, Colorado next winter. At the test site, customers will be encouraged to order on-site using dedicated parking spaces with intercom boxes connected to the chain’s app; and to pick up their food from drive-thru lanes.

As Sweettgreen expands from urban settings into suburban America, it joins the flood of restaurant companies that have unveiled new designs inspired by the coronavirus pandemic. Fast-food chains like Yum Brands’ Taco Bell and Restaurant Brands International’s Burger King have focused their new designs on making delivery and digital orders even more convenient.

But the fast-casual segment, which includes Sweetgreen and Chipotle Mexican Grill, has been influenced by the success of drive-thru lanes. Drive-thru orders grew by 24% across the restaurant industry in October, according to the NPD Group.

Like Sweetgreen, Shake Shack will open its first ever drive-thru lane in 2021, says CNBC. And Chipotle, which has been building its “Chipotlanes” for several years, is planning to add even more drive-thru lanes as same-store sales at those restaurants outpace the rest of its footprint.

Already, says Jammet, “A lot of our customers [… already are adopting this] behavior of using the Sweetgreen app to order ahead and come in ahead to pick it up.”

Research contact: @CNBC

Sanitation insanity? Chipotle has nurses check if workers are sick

December 6, 2019

Chipotle has found a new way to protect the health of its customers and of its bottom line. The Mexican grill—which was responsible for a well-publicized juggernaut of norovirus among customers in Virginia in 2017—has instituted a regimen of strict food safety practices in order to prevent future outbreaks and reassure patrons at all of its 2,500 U.S. locations.

But has the chain of fast casual restaurants gone overboard to ensure employee health? An investigation at the time of the outbreak revealed that it was caused by store managers who failed to follow safety procedures and by an employee who worked while sick.  The company revealed this week that it has hired nurses to check whether employees who call in sick are genuinely unwell or just hungover, Business Insider reports.

“We have nurses on call, so that if you say, ‘Hey, I’ve been sick,’ you get the call into the nurse,” CEO Brian Niccol said at a Barclays conference on Wednesday, December 4. “The nurse validates that it’s not a hangover—you’re really sick—and then we pay for the day off to get healthy again.”

He added, “We have a very different food-safety culture than we did two years ago, OK?” Nobody gets to the back of the restaurant without going through a wellness check.”

However, a healthy workforce isn’t always enough to prevent customers from succumbing to germs in the environment. “There’s probably people in here that might have the common cold,” Niccol said at the conference, according to the news outlet. “Even if we clean up after you, and we don’t use a cleaner that kills that germ, it hangs around for the next customer.

“Even though our team member did nothing wrong—there was nothing wrong with our food—we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard to make sure that the dining room gets sanitized in a way that it hasn’t been in the past,” he said.

Chipotle has a solution: “We’ve got cleaner that actually kills norovirus when you clean the tables in the dining room,” Niccol said.

Research contact: @businessinsider