Chipotle just took a major step toward becoming more like Starbucks


Moe Chipotle 21

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Chipotle just took a major step toward becoming more like Starbucks.


The burrito chain created a new position for a chief information officer to oversee its mobile app and other technology products, and hired Starbucks' CIO, Curt Garner, to fill the role.

That's big news for Chipotle, considering the fact that Starbucks has one of the most successful apps in the retail industry.

Under Garner, Starbucks' mobile orders have grown to represent 20% of all US sales, the Wall Street Journal reports.

That's a remarkable feat. Retailers have been trying and failing for years to get customers to interact with them on their mobile devices.


Starbucks' rewards program and easy phone payment options have helped it become such a popular download. And the coffee chain keeps improving its technology. Starbucks recently added a new order-and-pay-ahead option to its app.

Garner started working on technology infrastructure for Starbucks nearly two decades ago when it had fewer than 2,000 stores. Starbucks now has more than 22,000 locations worldwide.

Chipotle has roughly 1,850 restaurants, and right now its app doesn't get very high marks from customers. The iPhone app has 2.5 stars out of 5 in iTunes.

In reviews, customers complain that the app isn't very user-friendly and that it can be difficult to customize some orders.

"We are changing the way people think about and eat fast food," Chipotle co-CEO Steve Ells said in a statement on hiring Garner. "Inherent in that vision is our quest to provide the very best restaurant experience we can. As we look for ways to create efficiencies in our restaurants and improve the customer experience through the strategic use of technology, Curt's experience and expertise make him an ideal and welcome addition to our management team."