Like many businesses, Chipotle is considering how to lower its energy use to minimize costs and pollution in the future, Fast Company reported. The restaurant chain has built a handful of pilot locations to test new features in its kitchens and dining areas. The biggest change has been switching from gas appliances to electric.
What changes are being made at Chipotle?
According to Fast Company, Chipotle has switched from gas-fired grills to electric ones in its pilot locations. Gas water heaters have been switched out for electric heat pump models, and the company has added solar panels to help cover its energy needs.
At the same time, Fast Company said the restaurant is taking steps to reduce its basic energy needs. It has gone from an overhead-only hood to an enclosed model that it said uses 30% to 35% less energy to collect smoke from the grill. It has also redesigned the new restaurants with more efficient lighting and added shade structures to reduce the use of air conditioning.
All these new features have been rolled out at pilot locations in Gloucester, Virginia, and Jacksonville, Florida, Fast Company reported. A third test location is being built in Castle Rock, Colorado.
Chipotle will be monitoring the new sites to see how they perform. If all goes well, the chain could add 100 all-electric locations in 2024, as well as remodel some of its 3,200 existing locations.
How is an all-electric kitchen helping?
Chipotle expects all these changes to significantly cut utility costs, Fast Company said. If so, Chipotle stores would be cheaper to run, making it easier to bring them to new locations while keeping the company’s food prices low.
Meanwhile, getting rid of a gas stove and water heaters that run all day, every day means Chipotle is cutting way back on the air pollution it produces. This means fewer heat-trapping gases going into the atmosphere, which means Chipotle is doing its part to cool the planet.
Chipotle isn’t the only one, either. Other fast food chains could also join in.
“This is an area that we’re constantly talking with our industry counterparts about, sharing best practices, because this is what’s good for the environment,” Laurie Schalow, chief corporate affairs and food safety officer at Chipotle, told Fast Company.
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