Restaurants

Chipotle unveils sustainable-restaurant design as it aims to cut carbon footprint in half by 2030

Key Points
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill is piloting a new restaurant design to help the company reach its sustainability goals.
  • Next year, more than 100 of the burrito chain's new locations will use all-electric equipment and some additional elements from the new design.
  • The company is aiming to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

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Some of the new restaurants will include solar panels.
Source: Chipotle Mexican Grill

Chipotle Mexican Grill on Tuesday unveiled a new all-electric restaurant design aimed at helping the company reach its goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.

Next year, more than 100 of the burrito chain's new locations will use all-electric equipment and some additional elements from the new design. Chipotle has already opened locations with the features in Gloucester, Virginia, and Jacksonville, Florida. A third restaurant is on its way this summer in Castle Rock, Colorado.

On top of replacing gas power with electricity, the new design includes cactus-leather chairs, artwork made from recycled corn husks, biodegradable packaging for food and drinks, smaller cook lines, improved exhaust hoods and heat-pump water heaters. When feasible, some locations will have rooftop solar panels and charging stations for electric vehicles.

The interior of Chipotle's latest restaurant design
Source: Chipotle Mexican Grill

The company said that it will tweak the new design as it learns more during its implementation.

Chipotle isn't the only restaurant chain looking to its restaurants to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. Salad chain Sweetgreen began highlighting menu items with lower carbon footprints last year. In 2021, McDonald's opened a location in Disney World that creates enough renewable energy on site to power the restaurant. And a year earlier, its archrival, Restaurant Brands International's Burger King, revealed a new restaurant design that features solar panels.     

"With our aggressive development goal in North America, we hold ourselves accountable to reduce the environmental impact of our restaurants," Laurie Schalow, Chipotle's chief corporate affairs officer, said in a statement.

Chipotle has set a long-term goal of eventually opening 7,000 restaurants across North America. As of December, it has more than 3,200 locations worldwide, most of which are in the United States.

The company's goal to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 is based on its 2019 baseline of 1.4 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent across its supply chain and restaurants.

Chipotle's other sustainability initiatives include developing plans for more vegan and vegetarian menu items, increasing the amount of local produce it purchases this year to 36.4 million pounds and investing in projects to drive emission reductions in beef and dairy production.