Chipotle Launches Pepper, a Virtual Facebook Concierge

After a billion-dollar year in 2019, the popular fast food chain continues to expand its digital offerings.

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Need to Know 

  • Chipotle has expanded its digital platform again, introducing Pepper, a Facebook chatbot.
  • Pepper offers “concierge” services, allowing customers to place their orders and pay directly through Facebook Messenger.
  • The new order option is the latest in a series of innovations from Chipotle, including the expansion of its mobile app into Canada.

Analysis

Chipotle has made its ordering process even easier with a new AI-powered feature. The popular Mexican fast-food chain has upgraded its digital offerings, now allowing guests to place their orders through Facebook Messenger. 

Customers can place an order by chatting with “Pepper”, Chipotle’s concierge bot on Facebook Messenger. They can start a chat by going to Facebook.com/Chipotle or by going directly to the Chipotle Facebook page and pressing “Message Us.” Pepper will then start a conversation, offering for the customer to start an order. Pepper will ask the customer a series of questions, such as “Is this pickup or delivery?” and offering choices for the customer to customize their order, just like they would in-store. Guests can also pay through Pepper.

While they are using a third-party app, Facebook, to place orders, payments are directed back to Chipotle’s main page. This allows Chipotle to communicate directly with customers. 

The innovative new offering is part of an industry-wide effort to improve the digital ordering experience and bring it back in-house. 

“We’re always working to enhance and optimize our digital capabilities and provide guests with a seamless ordering experience,” said Curt Garner, CTO for Chipotle. “It is critical that we meet customers where they are spending time online and give guests ordering options that best fit their needs.”

The chain’s ongoing investment in digital has delivered: in 2019, Chipotle garnered $1 billion in sales. And since the onset of the pandemic, the popular fast-food chain has seen a surge in online orders. Chipotle’s 2020’s Q1 results showed an 80% jump in digital sales, all thanks to mobile pick-up and delivery orders. 

Chipotle’s VP of digital strategy, Nicole West said it best when talking about Chipotle’s online presence with Digital Magazine last year: “It’s all about beautiful, seamless simple experiences.”

Chipotle has also expanded its digital offerings to Canada, introducing the Chipotle app to the country. Canadian fans can still order through DoorDash and UberEats, but now have the option of ordering directly through Chipotle’s app, too. 

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