Opening introductory session announced for the Global Summit

Editor’s note: Read our 2020 story on Chipotle’s rebound from high-profile foodborne illness outbreaks at its restaurants.

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – Chipotle Mexican Grill announced that it is testing radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to improve its tracking and inventory systems at its Chicago distribution center and approximately 200 restaurants in the greater area. from Chicago. Chipotle is one of the first major restaurant companies to leverage RFID checkout tags to track ingredients from vendors to restaurants via serialization.

“RFID tags turn inventory management into an automatic digital function that optimizes restaurant operations and gives our restaurant support centers access to real-time inventory data,” said Scott Boatwright, Restaurant Manager. . “This integrated technology enhances the experience of our employees at participating restaurants while benefiting our supply partners.”

Chipotle said it purchased more than 35 million pounds of locally grown produce in 2021 and spent more than $400 million in food rewards over the past two years to buy responsibly sourced and cruelty-free ingredients. The brand gives more transparency on the direct source of its ingredients. The company worked closely with Auburn University’s RFID lab to refine the pilot program, which is currently being tested on meat, dairy and avocados from five Chipotle suppliers. Ingredients for the test arrive at Chipotle restaurants with RFID-enabled checkout tags and are scanned by RFID readers, which complement existing scanners in restaurants, requiring minimal additional investment. The technology-based traceability system is designed to enable the company to act quickly, efficiently and accurately on food safety and quality issues, he said.

Participating vendors have invested in RFID technology using Chipotle specifications, which should save vendors time on inventory management and stock rotation, mitigate human error, and increase date visibility and accountability. ‘expiry. Chipotle invited key vendor partners to participate in the test and provided partners with an RFID handbook with best practices and program benefits. The brand leverages its stage process to test, listen and learn from employees and suppliers before deciding on a full-scale deployment of the RFID tag system.

“We’ve been developing our RFID program for two years and see this innovation as the next evolution in traceability and food safety,” said Laurie Schalow, director of corporate affairs and food safety. “We are excited to field test this innovation with our suppliers and restaurants to enhance our robust traceability program.”

Chipotle has partnered with industry-leading RFID partners, including RFID software provider Mojix, materials science and RFID innovator Avery Dennison, and RFID reader and encoder solutions provider Zebra Technologies.

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