The difficult situation that the coronavirus crisis it has hit restaurants hard. While family operations seek to survive, large organized restaurant chains rush to undertake reforms that allow them to generate business in these difficult times.
The efforts in a matter of delivery they have bent. The adoption of food delivery at home has become popular since the first wave forced a confinement and quarantine almost globally. The growth of this market segment, normally located around the 10%, sped up even then.
There was also a turn towards options takeaway and technology contactless. There have been many companies that have wanted to offer new alternatives in order collection. One of the most popular, Chipotle, has appeared in the headlines of specialized media in the restaurant sector thanks to its firmly bet on the lanes to drive-thru.
Now it does it again with a much more advanced concept, a kind of digital restaurant in which the entire service is highly automated.
This first digital store opened the past 14 November at the village of Highland Falls, a small town with 4000 inhabitants located in upstate New York (OF. UU.). It is a pilot project that the Mexican fast food company is exploring with a view to expanding the model beyond the limits of this modest town..
The selection of this small town as a starting point is not by chance. Chipotle Mexican Grill is investigating the possibility of taking over the mobility market outside the cities with a business model based on the takeaway innovative.
According to the press release issued by the company about this inauguration, Chipotle's digital kitchens would also be a way to reduce operating costs in big cities, where the price of land is prohibitive. In the words of the company itself: "The new prototype will allow Chipotle to penetrate more urban areas where a full restaurant is not feasible and will provide flexibility when choosing future locations".
The restaurants that are included within the concept Chipotle Digital Kitchen they are not local to use. To begin with, there is no dining room where customers can sit down to eat. Nor can they interact at the checkout to place your order. Everything is managed digitally through the company's mobile app, Your website or the portals of the food delivery companies with which the chain collaborates.
The user places his order in a 100% digital through your phone, computer or virtual assistant. Then, you just have to visit the place. If your order is ready, it will be collected from the shelves designated for this purpose.. The payment will have already been executed in advance through a digital wallet or another option contactless. If instead you still have to wait, the establishment has a small room designed to accommodate you during the minutes it takes for your food to be ready.
In this way we want to take the digital transformation restaurants. The profit margins expected in this type of establishment are advantageous comparatively. Traditional venues can't compete.
On the other hand customer user experience improves substantially. In this market niche, the one with fast food, the customer greatly appreciates the reduction in waiting times. The restaurants 100% Chipotle Digital Kitchen digitalis are exceptional in this regard.
According to Chipotle's Chief Technology Secretary, Curt Garner, the forecasts for this entrepreneurial adventure are encouraging: «With digital sales in the last quarter tripling year on year, Consumers Demand Never-Before-Seen Digital Accessibility, so we constantly explore new ways to improve our customers' experience ».
In this sense, and following Garner's words, Chipotle's Digital Restaurant «Incorporates Innovative Features That Complement This Fast-Growing Digital Business, while offering a comfortable and frictionless experience to customers ».
The Chipotle Digital Kitchen is the latest in a series of market-oriented innovations from the delivery and the digital transformation of restaurants that were already announced in December 2019. Since that statement the company has shown the public its Chipotlanes (The rails drive-thru previously mentioned) and the service lines on-premise specifically intended for takeaway, a precursor of the model at hand.
The location that just popped up just over a month ago in Highland Falls is one of the conceptual ideas coming out of the company's Californian innovation hub.. Located in the city of Irvine (California, OF. UU.), he Cultivate Center de Chipotle is a space for research and industrial organization with more than 2000 square meters of surface. There the engineers, advertisers, company advisers and chefs devise innovative ways to project the brand to new levels.
With the Chipotle Digital Kitchen it seems clear that they have taken an important step forward. We will still have to wait until well into the first quarter of 2021 to find out what are the first impressions generated by the New York establishment. But everything points to an economic performance far above the average, especially if we take into account that the coronavirus crisis is far from subsiding, and that will probably still cause numerous inconveniences throughout the next year.
We will remain with an eye on the interesting and risky bet of the Digital Kitchens, as it has enough potential to impose itself as a predominant business model in this decade.