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Chipotle and Sweetgreen Are Changing the Drive-Thru Rules

Chipotle and Sweetgreen Are Changing the Drive-Thru Rules
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.

Photo courtesy of Business Insider.
TLDR

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.

Chipotle and Sweetgreen Are Changing the Drive-Thru Rules

Chipotle and Sweetgreen Are Changing the Drive-Thru Rules
by
Soma Amir
by
Doron Segal
by
Tomer Molovinsky
by
Olivia Terenzio
by
Jessica Buckley
by
Ashley Rodriguez
August 25, 2021
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.

Photo courtesy of Business Insider.
TLDR

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.

Soma Amir

About the author

Doron Segal

About the author

Hey I'm Doron, the co-founder & CTO of Per Diem — a mobile app platform for restaurants. I'm also a dad and a husband. I love to travel and meet new people.I love creating things, and see people using the stuff I built.Prior to Per Diem I worked at Saildrone, OpenTable, Apple, Beats Music, Siemens.

Tomer Molovinsky

About the author

A second time founder with a passion for building products at the intersection of hospitality and technology. I've had the pleasure of launching reservation systems, mobile payment solutions, and loyalty programs at OpenTable and Resy, and witnessed how operators were losing a direct connection with their customers online. We built Per Diem to strengthen the relationships that businesses have with those customers, and to ensure that local businesses can thrive in today's economy.

Olivia Terenzio

About the author

Jessica Buckley

About the author

Ashley Rodriguez

About the author

Ashley is a freelance writer and podcast producer based in Madison, Wisconsin. She hosts a podcast called Boss Barista and writes an accompanying newsletter with full transcripts of each episode and articles about coffee and restaurant work. You can check out her work here (ashleyrodriguez.work/).

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