Deloitte Digital’s Unexpected Connection to the Chipotle Comeback

June 12, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

It wasn’t so long ago—maybe just a couple years or so—that Chipotle was having some serious problems with disease in their restaurants. It was the kind of thing that sends a restaurant crashing to failure, and for a chain restaurant, it was a double disaster on the hoof. Yet Chipotle came back, and in part thanks to a really great mobile customer experience that included order-ahead and mobile payments options. One of the biggest forces in that customer experience was Deloitte Digital, says a new report.

Deloitte Digital pointed out that Chipotle’s mobile app hadn’t exactly undergone a lot of change and upkeep, and with the food safety issue stinging its business, it was a good time for a remodel. Thus, Deloitte Digital went forth to see what the customer really wanted in a Chipotle experience.

Fast and easy order-ahead was key; customers spent 20 percent more per visit when placing orders via technology and visited six percent more often. Building repeat business among the customers who hadn’t given up outright was likely a big point to Chipotle. Speed of ordering also played a factor, and since humans are often creatures of habit, being able to repeat an order—effectively setting up a “usual”—was also important.

The centerpiece? Fifty percent of quick service restaurant customers prefer in-app payments, which means mobile payments are vital to the experience.

The end result was an app that brought Chipotle back from the brink. Food safety issues are a problem, of course, but a problem that can commonly be overcome. After all, restaurants are evaluated by area health departments, and closed for failures. There’s a certain amount of reassurance just by not being closed down. Events like Chipotle’s can be explained away by a “bad day” or the like, cemented by not hearing about similar events for a sufficiently long time. So Chipotle reinforced both sides of the problem at once, improving its mobile app and letting the food’s quality stand on its own, bringing it back.

Thus we see how Deloitte Digital’s help, and a little time, brought Chipotle back from the brink of disaster. Plus, we got a better mobile payments experience as well, which is so much the better.