Chipotle is testing a new restaurant layout with scarce room for seating.
The restaurants would primarily serve take-out orders, which now account for two-thirds of Chipotle transactions, up from 50% 14 years ago, according to Chipotle Chief Financial Officer Jack Hartung.
“We feel good about the idea of going out and building some really, really small scrappy restaurants and we will continue to experiment with that in the future,” Hartung said on an earnings call Monday.
He noted that the company has been scouting out locations for the new store formats in the U.S., England and France, specifically in places where real estate costs are high.
“I think that the seating component of what we do has become a little less important as more people know who we are and also we’re more comfortable with it now, now that the brand has been more established,” Hartung said. “So we aren’t as worried about — we aren’t as concerned about someone coming in and not getting ‘the full Chipotle dining experience’ or being part of the restaurant atmosphere.”
Chipotle has 1,681 restaurants in the U.S. and is planning to build up to 195 more this year. Hartung didn’t say how many smaller-format stores the company plans to build.
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