This Beloved Fast-Casual Chain Is Opening Its 3,000th Location Today
America's most popular fast-casual chain, which recently announced a goal of operating 7,000 locations in North America, has just reached a big incremental milestone on that journey.
Today, Chipotle is opening its 3,000th global location: a restaurant located at 3185 E. Bell Road in Phoenix, Ariz. The new store comes with a Chipotlane—the chain's signature drive-thru lane where customers can pick up their digital orders placed ahead of time.
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"This achievement is a testament to our phenomenal teams and their relentless pursuit of bringing Food with Integrity to more communities," said Brian Niccol, Chipotle's chairman and chief executive officer. "We are thrilled to celebrate our 3,000th restaurant opening, and the progress we've made towards our goal of having 7,000 restaurants or more in North America."
The new restaurant brings the number of Chipotle's U.S. locations to 2,950, while the remaining 50 are scattered across Canada, U.K., France, and Germany. The company plans on adding another 235 to 250 restaurants to its global portfolio in 2022, which is even more ambitious than the 215 restaurants it opened last year.
About 80% of the new locations will feature a Chipotlane, which is at the core of the chain's expansion strategy. The digital pickup lanes help streamline the guest experience and have proven to be the most profitable avenue for the brand, thanks to the fact that customers tend to rack up higher check averages using this method.
As a result, not only is Chipotle planning on adding these digital pickup lanes to new restaurants but will also retrofit them at some of its existing locations and relocate ones that can't accommodate the option.
While its 3,000th location opened its doors in a major city, Chipotle recently announced it is planning to expand to small towns to achieve its growth goals.
"People want Chipotle in their towns. The landlords want Chipotle in their centers. And we just demonstrated now we also have the small-town opportunity to add to the Chipotlane opportunity," Niccol said, clarifying that "small town" for Chipotle means one with at least 40,000 residents.