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Chipotle's 8-Store Canada Expansion Includes Chipotlanes

Chipotle over the next year plans to open eight new Canada locations, some of which will include its Chipotlane digital drive-through option.

Chipotle  (CMG) - Get Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. Report, the casual Mexican food chain, continues to expand in Canada, with plans to open eight new locations over the next year.

The first of its new locations will open in Surrey, British Columbia, on March 30. Prior to this the last Chipotle opening in Canada was in Markham, Ontario, in October 2018.

This will add to the 23 locations already operating in Canada, in areas including greater Toronto, Vancouver metro, Ottawa and London, Ontario.

The Newport Beach, Calif., company will also open a Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, location in the summer. This restaurant will feature Canada’s first Chipotlane, the brand’s version of a drive thru.

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The company established Chipotlanes as a health and safety option amid the pandemic. 

The “digital order pickup lane increases access and convenience by providing a speedy and seamless guest experience in under a minute,” Chipotle said.

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They have already proven to be a success, with locations that have Chipotlanes outperforming those without the drive-through option in the fourth quarter, MarketWatch reported.

Chief Financial Officer Jack Hartung told the publication that the concept initially had not been popular within the company. Many felt the lanes took away from the casual aspect of the company’s casual-dining branding.

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“The essence of Chipotle is not about drive-throughs, digital or delivery,” Hartung told MarketWatch.

"Rather, it’s the company’s food, how it’s sourced and made. ... [Now,] customers can have the convenience of the fast-food experience but elevated food,” he added.

Among the company's 2,750 global restaurants, 170, a bit more than 6%, have Chipotlanes.

At last check Chipotle shares were trading 1.5% higher at $1,466.42.