Chipotle and Sweetgreen's New Order-Ahead Drive-Up Lanes
Sweetgreen is taking a page from Chipotle's playbook with its new 'Sweetlane' drive-thru. Like Chipotle, Sweetgreen tweaked the typical model of a drive-thru by requiring customers to order ahead, rather than while in line.
The addition of Chipotlane enhanced customer access and convenience and bolstered new store restaurant sales, margins and returns. So it's no wonder why Sweetgreen is following their lead—Chipotle is slowly becoming the gold standard when it comes to drive-thru ordering.
How Do Sweetlane and Chipotlane Work?
In 2018 Chipotle launched their first Chipotlane order-ahead system that lets you skip the line and pick up your food from a designated window.
Now, Sweetgreen has come up with its own version of this system, which it's calling Sweetlane. Here's how it works: customers place a digital order on the Sweetlane website or app before pulling through the drive-thru to pick up their order. They can choose to pick it up inside, or at the drive-thru. Because of the customized nature, there is no option to order at a speaker in the drive-thru itself. You have to place your order ahead of time, either on the app or on the website.
Pretty cool, right? We think so.
What Are the Benefits of Sweetlanes and Chipotlanes?
To access the drive-thru, customers at a particular location will place orders in advance exclusively through Chipotle or Sweetgreen's digital platform. Customers can pick up customized salads, bowls, and burritos at the drive-thru window, just like they would at any fast food chain. Sweetgreen even added a window to the drive-thru so waiting customers can watch their meals be made, replicating the in-store experience.
To drive growth, Sweetgreen is expanding its restaurant footprint and looking into smaller format, digital-only fulfillment restaurants, as well as drive-thru and drive-up ordering concepts. Meanwhile, Chipotlanes continue to be a huge success for Chipotle, with higher margins and more sales than traditional models. So it's likely that Sweetgreen's foray into this type of ordering will be just as successful.