Chipotle invests in autonomous delivery company
Chipotle invents Mexican Grill in Nuro, a self-driving delivery company that uses robotics in its fleet of uninhabited vehicles to deliver everyday consumer goods.
“We are always looking for ways to offer our guests innovative solutions to improve access and convenience,” said Curt Garner, Chipotle’s chief technology officer, in a press release. “Nuro could change the traditional delivery model and we believe consumers will continue to look for options and additional points of access to how and where they enjoy their food.”
Expanding access and convenience through Chipotle’s digital ecosystem is a strategic priority for the company. Digital business grew over 174% year over year in 2020, with about half of digital revenue coming from delivery.
Early investments in digital innovations have given the brand an operational competitive advantage in digital kitchens and chipotlanes, according to Garner. The next step is to explore disruptive opportunities outside of traditional third-party partnerships.
“Nuro and Chipotle share the same commitment to improving everyday life through innovative products, whether it be through responsible food or autonomous delivery vehicles,” said Dave Ferguson, co-founder and president of Nuro, in the press release. “With financial and strategic support from world-class companies like Chipotle, we can develop our industry-leading autonomous technology, expand our team and expand our delivery service.”
The companies didn’t reveal how much Chipotle had invested in Nuro.
In addition to improving access in the US, Chipotle announced earlier this week that it would expand its presence at restaurant openings in Canadawith next year. Additionally, Chipotle recently added its first customizable digital appetizer, the handcrafted quesadilla, to the Chipotle app and Chipotle.com.
Chipotle has over 2,750 restaurants.