Chipotle Is Testing Some Brand-New, Environmentally-Friendly Restaurant Designs

The fast-casual chain Chipotle is getting a major makeover — it recently announced it is planning environmentally-friendly restaurants running completely on renewable energy.

Future locations will incorporate an all-electric restaurant design that uses renewable energy from solar and wind power. The initiative aims to "maximize energy efficiency," according to an April 11 press release. "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.

Part of Chipotle's environmentally-conscious restaurant design is adding more rooftop solar panels and replacing gas appliances with all-electric equipment, a smaller electric cook line, and revamped exhaust hoods, as well as electric vehicle charging stations at selected locations. The changes also go down to its cutlery — the chain is moving toward offering biodegradable utensils, including cutlery, straws, bowls, cups, and lids.

There are already all-electric locations you can visit

If you're eager to visit Chipotle's all-electric restaurant, there may be one near you — the chain already has two locations in Gloucester, Virginia and Jacksonville, Florida that feature environmentally-friendly design. A third location in Castle Rock, Colorado is set to open this summer.

Chipotle currently has over 3,000 locations. It wants to grow the chain to 7,000 locations in North America. At least 100 of its new locations planned to open in 2024 will have all-electronic equipment and "some additional elements" of its environmentally-friendly design. Its physical stores aren't the only aspects Chipotle aims to change to be more sustainable — the chain also plans to offer more plant-based items. This new initiative is part of Chipotle's larger goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.

Chipotle is the latest restaurant to move toward a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly business approach. Fast-casual salad spot Chopt recently opened an "eco-conscious" store, and McDonald's has begun to purchase more from solar-powered suppliers.