Chipotle's digital sales exploded 216% during the pandemic as most customers chose carryout despite many restaurants reopening their dining rooms

Irene Jiang/Business InsiderEven as stores reopened, most Chipotle customers still chose to order digitally for pickup or delivery.
  • Chipotle’s digital sales grew 216% year-over-year during the second quarter, as the pandemic went into full swing, Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol said.
  • Digital sales accounted for $US829 million, or 61% of Chipotle’s overall sales for the quarter.
  • Even though 85% of Chipotle dining rooms are open, most customers continued to choose to order ahead for carryout or delivery.
  • Niccol credits the explosion in digital sales to more people working from home, targeted advertising, and new delivery partnerships with Postmates and Uber Eats.
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Chipotle’s digital sales grew 216% year-over-year in the last quarter as the pandemic went into full swing, Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol said in the company’s earnings call on Wednesday.

Digital sales accounted for $US829 million, or 61% of all Chipotle’s sales – even though the chain has reopened most of its dining rooms for sit-down diners – and it shows that customers are still hesitant to dine in restaurants.

Even as stores reopened, most customers still chose to order digitally for pickup or delivery.

“We’ve been able to retain 70% to 80% of our digital sales gains while recovering 40% to 50% of our in-store sales,” Niccol said in the earnings call. This sustained bump in digital sales helped improve Chipotle’s overall sales for the quarter.

Niccol cites more people working from home, targeted advertising, and delivery partnerships with Uber Eats and Grubhub as reasons for the boom in digital sales. Delivery also increased 125% in the last quarter compared to before the pandemic. However, going forward, Chipotle plans to focus less on delivery and more on growing out its drive-thru business.

“Order ahead is now our fastest grower due partly to being less promotional than delivery, partly to more customers realising the value of a pickup transaction as there are no delivery fees, and to a lesser extent more Chipotlanes,” Niccol said.

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