Chipotle CEO shares post-coronavirus reopening plan

Brian Niccol says revenue will be a 'slow walk back'

Chipotle’s online orders are up, but it doesn’t make up for the loss of its dining room business during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Chipotle's digital sales increased a whopping 81 percent to $371.8 million, which accounted for 26 percent of sales for the quarter, the chain reported last week. However, its CEO Brian Niccol said the loss of its dining room business will be a challenge moving forward once restaurants are able to reopen.

Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)

“It’s going to be a slow walk back,” Niccol told FOX Business Wednesday of getting revenue back to where it was pre-coronavirus.

“Until we get our dining rooms open, and our customers can get the full Chipotle experience, we’re going to keep grinding to reclaim the lost sales and transactions.”

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Restaurants across the country were forced to pivot to delivery and pick-up only models or shutter entirely with the economic pressures from COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders. To adapt, Chipotle added contactless pick-up and delivery to bolster its digital sales and teamed up with influencers on social media to share wellness tips to coincide with its healtheir "Lifestyle Bowl" menu items. The chain also raised employee wages 10 percent and even shared its coveted guacamole recipe with diners to keep customers engaged with the brand.

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And with social distancing being the new normal, even when its restaurants are able to open, Niccol recognized that it means fewer eaters will be able to eat in.

"We're going to be really careful about it. As we start to see states open, we're going to start exploring when is the right time for us to open," Niccol said adding Chipotle will also be, "limiting the capacity in the dining rooms to keep everybody confident in their health and safety."

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