Chipotle is digging into at least one part of its turnaround strategy under new CEO Brian Niccol: delivery. The restaurant chain has partnered with DoorDash to offer delivery at 1,500 of its stores in the U.S. and Canada. This makes DoorDash Chipotle’s largest delivery partner. To celebrate, DoorDash is offering free delivery this week on Chipotle orders over $10, just in time for Cinco de Mayo.
“By partnering with a delivery leader like DoorDash, we are making it even easier for customers to enjoy all the real ingredients that make up our delicious food,” Chipotle chief digital and information officer Curt Garner said in a statement.
After announcing a half-billion dollar investment round in March, DoorDash has already expanded from 600 to 800 cities and has plans for an additional 1,000 in the next year. DoorDash is powering Chipotle deliveries in all of the markets that it’s currently available in. DoorDash chief operating officer Christopher Payne said that as the company expands, it will cover more of Chipotle’s 2,400 stores.
The companies approached this as a partnership, testing the best ways to fulfill orders in stores ahead of today’s launch. “We’ve been testing this out for a few weeks, doing this world class job of delivering fantastic food together to consumers. It’s not only a big milestone and a big marketing splash but it will be operationally excellent across 1,500 Chipotle stores,” said Payne.
Point of Sale Integration
The DoorDash partnership contains direct point of sale integration, meaning that orders placed via DoorDash are fed directly into the restaurant’s system.
“We’ve been building a point of sale platform. We built the technology and the team that makes it relatively easy for us to add new point of sale integrations and move very quickly. This was measured in weeks not months,” Payne told Skift Table. “We’re accelerating the timeline to be able to deploy these point of sale integrations with national partners, and the quality difference is very noticeable.”
In the competitive third-party delivery market, POS integration is an important feature, especially when it comes to securing exclusive partnerships. Grubhub integrates with several different POS systems, and its technology was an integral part of this year’s exclusive Yum Brands delivery partnership, according to Grubhub CEO Matt Maloney. This means instead of receiving orders on a tablet and manually entering them into the restaurant’s system, the orders are fed directly to the restaurant — no transcribing required.
The New Fast Casual Strategy
In his first earnings call as the company’s CEO, Chipotle’s Niccol touted the company’s growing success in digital orders, which account for nearly nine percent of total sales. The popularity of digital sales and delivery inspired Chipotle to make changes in its kitchen, where stores added second make lines that operate in the same way as the consumer-facing lines, but are responsible for digital, delivery, and catering orders. In addition to delivery, Niccol has hinted that in-store ordering kiosks and drive-thrus are not off the table for Chipotle, though that may be a longer-term play than increasing its delivery footprint.
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