Silver Spring gets a ‘Chipotlane’

Chipotle Mexican Grill in Silver Spring, Maryland, will be digital-only and have no dining room. (Courtesy Chipotle Mexican Grill)

Chipotle Mexican Grill has opened just its second digital-only restaurant in the country in Silver Spring, Maryland.

The “Chipotlane” at 13801 Outlet Drive has no dining room. It is much smaller than a traditional Chipotle restaurant and there is no front-line staff preparing customer orders.

Instead, the kitchen is equipped with a make line dedicated to just digital orders made on the Chipotle app or through its website.

There is both a drive-through and a walk-up window for customers, or food delivery services, to pick up their orders.

The first Chipotlane opened in the Akron, Ohio, suburb of Cuyahoga Falls in 2021. Chipotle has close to two-dozen locations in the D.C. region.

Digital-focused locations is a trend in the fast food and fast-casual restaurant industry.

Chopt Creative Salad Company has opened among its first contact-free locations in Arlington’s Ballston and Rosslyn neighborhoods, though those locations do have on-site dining as well. They are also what Chopt called sustainably-focused, with energy efficient equipment

Restaurants, particularly fast-casual restaurants like Chipotle, have been leading industry job growth. Earlier this month, Chipotle said it would fill 15,000 jobs in North America this year. Taco Bell has more than 25,000 job listings. Starbucks has posted more than 10,000 listings for baristas.

U.S restaurants have added jobs for 24 consecutive months now.

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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