- Chipotle's new digital makeline test uses intelligent automation to build bowls and salads while Chipotle employees operate the top makeline to make burritos, tacos, and quesadillas
- Designed and built by Hyphen, the cobotic (collaborative robot) system is being tested at the Chipotle Cultivate Center in Irvine, California
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., Oct. 3, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) announced today it is testing an automated digital makeline in collaboration with Hyphen, a foodservice platform designed to help restaurant owners, operators, and budding chefs move their business forward by automating kitchen operations. Bowls and salads are created by an automated system that moves the entrées through the bottom makeline where ingredients for the order are dispensed automatically. In tandem, a Chipotle team member can leverage the top makeline to create burritos, tacos, quesadillas, and kid's meals for the same digital order.
See Chipotle's Hyphen digital makeline in action here: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/iw25pty61afy691q1muae/CBJ-Suite-Branding_2023_CutsV3.mp4?rlkey=h3rx9pg9xamsc15sslkb8b5cf&dl=0
Photos of the Hyphen digital makeline can be accessed here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/u6ztgsltg9nsixc/AAC2TiXAbhwAJorEyieBjdK-a?dl=0.
How It Works
- Digital orders would be placed via the Chipotle app, Chipotle.com, or third-party platforms.
- If the order included a bowl or salad, those entrées would be routed to Hyphen's automated system. The bowl traverses along the bottom makeline and positions itself under the specified ingredient container. The intelligent dispensers dynamically portion each ingredient into the bowl. If the order included burritos, tacos, quesadillas, or kid's meals, a Chipotle team member would use the top of the same makeline to create those entrées.
- The completed bowl or salad would be raised from the bottom makeline and revealed at the end of the makeline through an opening in the countertop. A Chipotle team member would place a lid on the entrée and add any final items such as chips, side salsas, or guacamole to the order.
- Completed orders would be placed in their designated pick-up area: in-restaurant pickup shelves, walk-up window, or Chipotlane.
Impact on Chipotle Team Members and Guests
Approximately 65% of all Chipotle digital orders are bowls or salads, so the cobotic digital makeline has the potential to free up more time for employees to service the front makeline and deliver exceptional hospitality, while simultaneously increasing capacity for digital orders during peak periods.
The new digital makeline could also help enhance digital order accuracy, improving the guest experience.
"Chipotle's new digital makeline built by Hyphen embodies our commitment to leveraging robotics to unlock the human potential of our workforce, ensuring an elevated dining experience for our guests," said Curt Garner, Chief Customer and Technology Officer. "Our goal is to have the automated digital makeline be the centerpiece of all our restaurants' digital kitchens."
Chipotle's Investment in Hyphen
Chipotle invested in Hyphen as part of Cultivate Next, the company's $50 million venture fund that intends to make early-stage investments into strategically aligned companies that further its mission to Cultivate a Better World and help accelerate its aggressive growth plans. As a people-first company, Chipotle is seeking opportunities that will elevate the human experience for its teams as well as increase access and convenience for its guests. Investments may include innovations in farming and supply chain, advanced robotics, alternative proteins, and more.
Through Cultivate Next, Chipotle also invested in Vebu, a product development company that works with food industry leaders to co-create intelligent automation and technology solutions. Earlier this year, Chipotle and Vebu unveiled the Autocado, an avocado processing cobotic prototype that cuts, cores, and peels avocados before they are hand mashed to create the restaurant's famous guacamole.
Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE: CMG) is cultivating a better world by serving responsibly sourced, classically-cooked, real food with wholesome ingredients without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Chipotle had over 3,250 restaurants as of June 30, 2023, in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Germany and is the only restaurant company of its size that owns and operates all its restaurants in North America and Europe. Chipotle is ranked on the Fortune 500 and is recognized on the 2023 list for Fortune's Most Admired Companies and Time Magazine's Most Influential Companies. With over 110,000 employees passionate about providing a great guest experience, Chipotle is a longtime leader and innovator in the food industry. Chipotle is committed to making its food more accessible to everyone while continuing to be a brand with a demonstrated purpose as it leads the way in digital, technology and sustainable business practices. For more information or to place an order online, visit www.chipotle.com.
Hyphen is a foodservice platform designed to help restaurant owners, operators, and budding chefs move their business forward by automating kitchen operations. Visit www.usehyphen.com for more information on Hyphen and its team.
SOURCE Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.