Chipotle just opened it’s 2,500 threstaurant. That means Steve Ells went from zero to 2,500 in less than 26 years.

In that short time, the way we consume food in restaurants has changed dramatically. ‘Financial services firm, Morgan Stanley, projected that direct delivery could account for 40 percent of annual U.S. restaurant sales or $220 billion by 2020, compared with about $30 billion annually or 5 percent of overall sales as of mid-2017.’

In 2019, restaurants like Chipotle Mexican Grill are changing their restaurant structure adding more drive-up lanes, delivery options, and online ordering options, transforming restaurant real estate as we know it. By the end of 2019, you can expect a few dozen ‘Chipotlanes,’ Chipotle concepts with drive up lanes. In addition to the Chipotlanes, between 140-155 new Chipotles opening this year are planned to be configured with an entirely new tech-enabled second lane which is essentially a separate food assembly line devoted specifically to online orders. The  tech-enabled lines are already in about 950 Chipotles and are expected to be in nearly all Chipotle restaurants by the end of 2019.

With the increase of technology in the restaurant space, those with service jobs should remain alert. Restaurant companies like McDonalds and Starbucks are implementing new technology that eliminates the server or cashier entirely. 

As for your favorite Chinese restaurant down the street? That’s changing too. You may notice seating room become increasingly smaller in the coming years. As ‘ghost restaurants’ start to enter our market, we see the change is imminent. ‘Ghost restaurants’ make food just for delivery through app-enabled third-party delivery, no dining rooms ,no counter service, and no customer interaction. 

With the advances in technology, real estate and the retail space continue to change. Sonenreich & Co. is your one stop shop for commercial real estate in Denver. 

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