- In 2018, Brian Niccol, the CEO of Chipotle, said the channel needed to be more digitally accessible.
- Today, Chipotle’s digital sales are skyrocketing, reaching $3.4 billion in 2021.
- Here are the 12 powerful players responsible for the channel’s digital success.
When Brian Niccol took over as CEO of Chipotle in early 2018, his first orders of magnitude were clear: to make Chipotle an accessible, digitally driven brand.
“Half the customers don’t know they can order ahead,” Niccol told Nation’s Restaurant News in 2018.
Niccol tapped several executives — including Chipotle’s chief technology officer, Curt Garner — to turn the brand into a digital powerhouse. Chipotle is now driving digital sales with its award-winning app and loyalty program, voice robot ordering, online-only meal specials, and the development of Chipotlanes.
Last year, Chipotle’s digital sales hit $3.4 billion and accounted for 45.6% of the channel’s total sales, up from 10.9% in 2018. To put that into perspective, mobile ordering transactions in company-operated Starbucks stores in the United States account for 25% of total transactions.
Chipotle also outperforms Domino’s — another digital heavyweight in the industry — when it comes to technology, according to Jim Balis, managing director of restaurant investment firm CapitalSpring.
Behind the scenes, a handful of powerful players are accelerating Chipotle’s digital growth through automation, app design, digital marketing and product testing.
Insider put together a definitive list of those executives, which Garner described as “future-oriented with a bent for action.”
“We want people who are naturally dissatisfied with the status quo,” he told Insider in a June interview.
Meet the 12 Chipotle powerhouses responsible for driving digital sales at the Newport Beach, Calif.-based company.