Chipotle Mexican Grill has opened its 500th Chipotlane restaurant, a format that features a digital order drive-through pick-up lane, in Louisville, Kentucky, US.

The restaurant is located at 7,710 Bardstown Road in the Fern Creek neighbourhood of Jefferson County.

Chipotle has currently six restaurants in Louisville, contributing to a total of 25 restaurants in Kentucky.

Chipotle Mexican Grill chief development officer Tabassum Zalotrawala said: “We are thrilled to celebrate this landmark Chipotlane opening.

“Chipotlanes are the digital drive-through of the future and a key piece of our growth strategy as we plan to more than double our restaurant count over the long term to achieve 7,000 restaurants or more in North America.”

Chipotle is accelerating new unit growth of Chipotlanes, a format that was introduced in the US in early 2018.

According to the firm, the new restaurants that open with the digital order pick-up lane feature have shown higher volumes and greater returns compared to the traditional Chipotle restaurant concept.

In October 2021, Chipotle opened its first Chipotlane restaurant in Canada.

In 2023, it plans to open between 255 and 285 new restaurants, with at least 80% using the Chipotlane format.

To further boost access for its digital guests, Chipotle recently teamed up with ASAP.com, a regional marketplace that offers delivery service in more than 1,000 cities.

The partnership is aimed at offering a timely delivery experience from more than 600 Chipotle restaurants on the East Coast as well as in the South and Mid-West.

In March, Chipotle Mexican Grill partnered with Miso Robotics  to test an autonomous kitchen assistant, called Chippy, that would cook tortilla chips.