Chipotle (NYSE: CMG) disappointed investors with its report and can’t seem to get its footing on the road to recovery. However, there’s one bright spot in the midst of these challenges: the company’s focus on its digital efforts. Digital ordering is fast becoming a “must have” for restaurants. Mobile “order ahead” for quick service restaurants could grow to $38 billion by 2020, according to Business Insider.
It’s been a year since Chipotle first announced a push to upgrade its digital capabilities. Since then, digital orders have taken off. And as the company beefs up its technology roadmap, it’s also speeding up the in-store improvements to make it all happen.
In the third quarter earnings call, Chipotle announced a plan to increase the number of orders it was receiving online and via the mobile app. At the time, this channel represented only 6% of revenue.
Since rolling out “smarter pickup times” in February, the company has seen a 51% increase in digital orders. Sales fulfilled through the second make line — a smaller work area behind the main customer counter that specifically processes online and catering orders — peaked at 8.5% in the second quarter before falling slightly to 8% in the third. That said, the highest volume stores are seeing up to 15% of revenue from digital orders. This success has encouraged the company to invest even more into these opportunities.