Highlighting Restaurant Digital Growth During COVID-19 to Drive Traffic and Attract Job Seekers

Chipotle Mexican Grill is a fast-casual restaurant brand cultivating a better world by serving responsibly-sourced, classically-cooked, real food with wholesome ingredients and without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. As COVID-19 continued to restrict in-restaurant dining, Chipotle focused on making its real food more accessible and convenient by expanding its Chipotlanes — drive-thru pickup lanes that allow customers to pick up digital orders without leaving their cars. To emphasize its digital channel access points, Chipotle celebrated the opening of the company’s 100th Chipotlane in Sunbury, Ohio, and hosted a nationwide hiring event to fill the 10,000 positions needed to staff the growing number of Chipotlanes.

Media Relations & Influencer Marketing
Communications Strategy & Planning
Multi-Unit Restaurants
2020 Gold Pick Award


Linhart PR had to break through the tough COVID media landscape with positive and innovative stories that:

  • Celebrated the opening of the 100th Chipotlane
  • Focused on digital access points that would successfully drive restaurant traffic while dining rooms were closed
  • Talked about the company’s world-class benefits and the nationwide hiring event to attract new team members and encourage interview sign ups 


Here is how Linhart PR tackled the challenge:

  • 100th Chipotlane Opening: Pitched Sunbury, Ohio (a suburb of Columbus) and Columbus media with news of the opening of the 100th Chipotlane, while reminding the community the first Chipotlane opened in Columbus just two years prior.
  • Top Hiring Markets: Determined the top five hiring markets for media outreach based on the markets with the most open positions. Pitches highlighted the number and types of positions available, included hiring event information, and shared details around Chipotle’s best-in-class benefits, such as a crew bonus, debt-free degree program, and mental health benefits for all family members – made even more important during the pandemic — to demonstrate Chipotle as a great place to work.
  • Chipotle Priority Markets: In Chipotle’s 14 priority markets across the U.S., leveraged the opening of 100 Chipotlanes in two years to illustrate digital access point growth. To localize the news, a vital step to securing local market stories, included the number of Chipotlanes in each local market or state, connecting the dots that local Chipotlane growth was tied to the brand’s overall growth and hiring needs.


Linhart PR secured 75 stories and more than 70 million impressions for Chipotle’s rapid growth, easy and convenient access points, and job openings during an economic recession. These wins included:  

  • 5 stories in Columbus/Sunbury, Ohio celebrating the opening of the 100th Chipotlane
  • 24 stories in top hiring markets, with hiring event details and benefits messaging, increasing recognition of Chipotle as a great place to work
  • 46 stories in the brand’s focus markets, discussing the brand’s digital channel growth and associated hiring needs

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