NEWPORT BEACH, CALIF. — Chipotle Mexican Grill unveiled a new all-electric restaurant design that utilizes renewable energy from wind and solar power through the purchase of renewable energy credits. Restaurants with the new features recently opened in Gloucester, Va., and Jacksonville, Fla., with a third location opening later this summer in Castle Rock, Colo.

“With our aggressive development goal in North America, we hold ourselves accountable to reduce the environmental impact of our restaurants,” said Laurie Schalow, chief corporate affairs officer at Chipotle. “We are aiming to incorporate some elements of our responsible restaurant design into many of our new restaurant openings going forward.”

The concept, which Chipotle is calling “responsible restaurant design,” includes key features such as:

  • Rooftop solar panels, where feasible
  • All-electric equipment and systems to replace gas power
  • Heat pump water heaters
  • Smaller electric cookline and improved exhaust hoods compared to other Chipotle kitchens
  • Energy management systems (which already have been deployed in most existing restaurant locations)
  • Biodegradable service ware such as cutlery, straws, bowls, cups and lids
  • Cactus leather chairs
  • Artwork made from recycled rice husks  
  • Electric vehicle charging stations at select locations

Chipotle said the restaurant design pilot will help the company progress toward its science-based targets, established in alignment with Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), to reduce direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030 compared to a 2019 baseline.

Chipotle said the company will leverage new restaurant openings to scale the company’s overall impact; Chipotle has an aggressive development goal of eventually growing to 7,000 locations in North America, with plans to have more than 100 of its new locations in 2024 utilizing all-electric equipment and at least some additional elements from its new design. Chipotle added it will continue to innovate and iterate on the design over time.

To promote the company’s sustainability initiatives, Chipotle also launched a short film called “Human Nature” that will air as a national television ad. The film features side-by-side shots of humans and nature, emphasizing their aesthetic similarities while conveying the importance of individuals reconnecting physically and emotionally with the environment.

“Since its founding in 1993, Chipotle’s mindset and approach to food has always been about working with — not against — nature and using real ingredients free of any artificial flavors, colors or preservatives,” said Chris Brandt, chief marketing officer. “‘Human Nature celebrates how Chipotle serves food that is both good for you and better for the planet. Strengthening our connection with nature is key to producing responsibly raised food for generations to come.”

Chipotle also published its 2022 Sustainability Report, which showcases its efforts in three categories: People, Food and Animals, and the Environment. The full report can be found here.