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Chipotle Mexican Grill Opens 1st Drive-Thru Location in Canada with Plans for Expansion

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Chipotle Mexican Grill has opened its first Chipotlane in Canada in Port Coquitlam, BC – the brand’s first drive-thru digital order pickup lane.

Anat Davidzon

“Unlike a traditional drive-thru, these lanes allow guests to place their order in advance via the Chipotle app or Chipotle website and simply drive up to grab their meal. We hope to continue introducing these formats in the future,” said Anat Davidzon, Managing Director, Chipotle Canada.

To date, Chipotle has about 280 Chipotlanes located in the U.S. Chipotlanes differ from the traditional Chipotle layout by increasing access and convenience with a speedy and seamless guest experience. Chipotle currently has 25 restaurants in Canada and plans to open three additional restaurants in British Columbia and Ontario before the end of the year.

Chipotle was founded in 1993 in Denver, Colorado, by culinary chef Steve Ells on the premise that real food should be accessible to all.

There are close to 2,900 restaurants in the US, Canada and Europe.

Image: Chipotle

The Canadian restaurants are in the greater Toronto and Vancouver metro areas as well as Ottawa and London, Ontario.

“Chipotle is the only restaurant company of its size that owns and operates all of its restaurants. Chipotle uses real food made from wholesome ingredients made fresh daily with no freezers, microwaves or can openers in its restaurants,” said Davidzon.

“Canada has cleared our stage-gate process, and we are ready to accelerate new restaurant openings. We will be experimenting with different location formats and restaurant designs throughout Canada to gauge consumer preferences in the various markets.

“We believe there is a massive growth opportunity in this market. Canadians appreciate the strong value proposition that Chipotle offers with real food and our Food with Integrity sourcing standards. As Canadian consumers gravitate towards restaurant brands that care about environmental and community impact, Chipotle’s values around preparing real food with people, animals, and the environment in mind are a perfect fit.”

Image: Chipotle

Davidzon said the new Chipotlane location will also bring additional career opportunities to the area for residents.

In August, Chipotle increased restaurant wages in Canada resulting in a $15 CAD minimum hourly rate in Ontario restaurants, and $16 CAD minimum hourly rate in British Columbia restaurants.

The company said Chipotle’s crew members can advance to a Restaurateur, the highest General Manager position, in as little as three and a half years, with an average compensation of more than $125,000 CAD while leading a multi-million-dollar growing business.

Chipotle also offers a Cultivate Education program, which allows eligible employees to be reimbursed for tuition up to $5,250 CAD per year in qualifying programs. The full suite of benefits includes access to healthcare, retirement savings, free mental health benefits for employees and family members, and more.

In an added effort to boost its recruiting efforts in the region, Chipotle recently introduced a $200 CAD referral bonus for employees who refer a crew member and a $750 CAD referral bonus for employees who refer an Apprentice or General Manager in Canada.

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior National Business Journalist with Retail Insider in addition to working on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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