Chipotle Mexican Grill invests in more AI technology

Chipotle Mexican Grill announced Tuesday it would be piloting advanced technologies to streamline operations and reduce friction.

In select Southern California stores of the Newport Beach, Calif.-based fast-casual restaurant brand, Chipotle is piloting a cook-to-needs kitchen management system that provides demand-based cooking and ingredient preparation forecasts to optimize throughput and freshness while minimizing food waste. Leveraging AI and machine learning, the system monitors ingredient levels in real-time and notifies the crew on how much to prep and cook, and when to start cooking, while automatically populating real-time production planning for each restaurant.

“The new kitchen management system has alleviated manual tasks for our crew and given restaurant managers the tools they need to make informed in-the-moment decisions, ultimately enabling them to focus on an exceptional culinary and an outstanding guest experience,” said Curt Garner, Chipotle chief technology officer, in a statement.

The technology, called PreciTaste, is currently being tested at eight restaurants in Orange County, Calif., and early results indicate that the technology is streamlining operations, the company said.

The second technology being tested by the fast-casual leader utilizes Radius Networks’ technology platform, Flybuy, and works to enhance the chain’s app functionality.

For guests who opt-in, the program can engage with Chipotle app users upon restaurant arrival. It utilizes real-time data to enhance consumers’ experience with order readiness messaging, wrong pick-up location detection, reminders to scan the Chipotle Rewards QR code at checkout, and more.

“Empowering our restaurants with advanced technologies is critical for operational excellence and better positions our teams for our ambitious growth plans,” Scott Boatwright, Chipotle chief restaurant officer, said in a statement.

This program is currently being tested in 73 locations in the Cleveland market, and early results show the technology is working, according to the company.

In other Chipotle technology news, Chippy, the AI robot that creates tortilla chips that Chipotle introduced earlier this year at its Chipotle Cultivate Center, has moved to in-store locations. Chippy will start cooking chips for guests next month in a Fountain Valley, Calif., location while the brand leverages its stage-gate process to listen, test and learn from crew and guest feedback before deciding on a national implementation strategy.

Chipotle has over 3,000 restaurants nationally.

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