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Chipotle Rolls Out New Drive-Thrus, But They’re Not What You’re Expecting

Excitement grew last summer when Chipotle announced plans to add “vehicular pickup windows” to its restaurants. Now, five new locations across the country have adopted the drive-thru lanes, but be warned: They are unlike your typical fast-food experience.

Rather than using a microphone to order while idling in their cars, customers must order through the Chipotle app or an online form. After placing the digital order, customers receive an estimated pick-up time when they can then swing by their local Chipotle drive-thru and pick up their burrito without ever having to leave their car or even speak.

The idea has perplexed some.

“Went through the drive thru, not a drive thru at all,” wrote one Yelp reviewer in a one-star review of the San Antonio location. “Maybe they should write that on their big drive thru order board that’s right in front of the restaurant.”

But the premise of digital ordering isn’t a novel concept for the company, which fields thousands of customer orders daily through its app for in-store pick up, CNBC reported.

To keep up with this immense demand, Chipotle has had to add “second food lines” to almost 100 of its stores. These lines are exclusively dedicated to mobile orders and catering.

“One of the first things I uncovered was the second make line,” Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol told Business Insider in early May. “I was just like, this is a huge…capability that we have not been taking full advantage of.”

Currently, there are only five Chipotle restaurants that feature drive-thrus, but this number is likely to grow in the coming months, CNBC reports. The current restaurants with drive-thrus are in Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Massachusetts.