Chipotle's newest announcement could permanently change the restaurant industry as we know it.

The Mexican-themed chain announced they will be opening their first-ever digital-only restaurant in New York.

If it is a success, I am sure we we will be hearing about additional digital-only locations opening up in the near future.

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Here is how it will work:

The digital-only restaurant will be open for pick-up, delivery and large catering orders only. Therefore, there will be no dining room or front service line.

Customers will have to place your food order in advance through, the Chipotle app or a third-party delivery partner. Orders can be picked up from the lobby. Large catering orders will have a separate lobby with its own entry for pick-up.

And because in-restaurant dining won't be allowed, these new prototypes of restaurants won't be full-sized and therefore, will allow for flexibility with future Chipotle locations.

"The Digital Kitchen incorporates innovative features that will complement our rapidly growing digital business, while delivering a convenient and frictionless experience for our guests," said Curt Garner, Chief Technology Officer of Chipotle. "With digital sales tripling year over year last quarter, consumers are demanding more digital access than ever before so we're constantly exploring new ways to enhance the experience for our guests."

There is no way that this new type of restaurant isn't COVID-19 related. Everything with this new set up is designed to have people interact with staff and other customers as little as possible.

Plus, no dining room? Sounds like one of the COVID-19 restrictions to me.

I guess businesses are starting to prepare for the possibility that COVID-19 is going to be a part of our everyday lives for an extended period of time.

I wouldn't be surprised if other major restaurant chains decided to open up their own versions of "digital only" restaurants to remain afloat. And depending on how much longer this pandemic lasts, this could become the new norm.

It's a shame though. There is nothing like eating out and being served on hand and foot.

If we had a digital only Chipotle come to the Jersey Shore, would you try it?

Take a look at the original announcement at

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