- In 2018 Brian Niccol, the CEO of Chipotle, said the chain needed to be more digitally accessible.
- Today, Chipotle’s digital sales are soaring, reaching $3.4 billion in 2021.
- Here are the 12 power players responsible for the chain’s digital success.
When Brian Niccol took over as the CEO of Chipotle in early 2018, his first marching orders were clear: Make Chipotle an accessible, digitally-focused brand.
“Half of the customers don’t know they can order ahead,” Niccol told Nation’s Restaurant News in 2018.
Niccol tapped several executives — including Curt Garner, the chief technology officer of Chipotle — to turn the brand into a digital powerhouse. Chipotle now drives digital sales through its award-winning app and loyalty program, voice-bot ordering, special online-only meals, and the development of Chipotlanes.
Last year, Chipotle’s digital sales reached $3.4 billion and accounted for 45.6% of the chain’s total sales, up from 10.9% in 2018. To put that in perspective, mobile-order transactions at company-operated Starbucks stores in the US account for 25% of total transactions.
According to Jim Balis, the managing director at restaurant-investment firm CapitalSpring, Chipotle is also surpassing Domino’s — another digital heavyweight in the industry — when it comes to technology.
Behind the scenes, a handful of power players are supercharging Chipotle’s digital growth through automation, app design, digital marketing, and product testing.
Insider has come up with a definitive list of these executives, whom Garner described as “future-oriented with a bias towards action.”
“We want people who are naturally dissatisfied with the status quo,” Insider told in a June interview.
Meet the 12 Chipotle power players responsible for the Newport Beach, California-based company’s soaring digital sales.