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Building reno brings Chipotle Mexican Grill eatery to Port Coquitlam

City approves building changes to convert a former KFC/Taco Bell to a Mexican fast-food restaurant, which will offer drive-thru service
Chipotle
Kubik Developments is seeking approval to renovate a building for Chipotle Mexican Grill in Port Coquitlam.

Port Coquitlam council Tuesday gave thumbs up to the California-based Chipotle Mexican Grill, which is planning to locate in the city on the north side of Lougheed Highway.

Council approved plans for the company to renovate a former KFC/Taco Bell restaurant at 2325 Ottawa St. to permit a drive-thru, a landscaped seating area and numerous building improvements to house the restaurant, which features a line of Mexican food and touts sustainability as part of its corporate branding.

Improvements to the Ottawa Street structure including safety measures to protect pedestrians near the drive-thru area herald the introduction of the Chipotlanes, where customers who download the app to order are supposed to get their food in seconds. 

According to Restaurant Business Online, Chipotle introduced the concept last year and found them so successful, they ramped up introduction of Chipotlanes across the U.S.

The company states online that it had over 2,700 restaurants as of Sept. 30, 2020, in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Germany, and is the only restaurant company of its size that owns and operates all its restaurants.

CITY WELCOMES INVESTMENT

Councillors welcomed news the restaurant would open up in Port Coquitlam, after the chain has been introduced to other cities in the Lower Mainland.

Noting another popular fast-food restaurant Popeyes Chicken on nearby Hawkins Street in Port Coquitlam, Mayor Brad West took some credit for the location of local fast-food outlets.

“Our strong leadership is attracting the very best fast-food in the world. A lot of people will be excited about Chipotle. It’s more popular than you might think,” West said during the committee of council meeting.

Not all Port Coquitlam restaurants have been so successful of late. In November, it was announced that both Swiss Chalet and Harvey’s would be closing in nearby Fremont Village.

COVID-19 CURBS DINE-IN

With the COVID-19 pandemic curbing dining, The Canadian Survey on Business Conditions revealed in November, 2020 42% of businesses in the accommodation and food sectors, compared to 26% of all businesses, are reporting revenue drops of over 50%. 

Just over a quarter of companies in these sectors stated they cannot maintain full or even partial operations while social distancing measures are in place, compared to the national average of 17.5%, according to the survey.

The federal government has taken some action to help firms whose business is primarily seasonal in the form of a $1 billion regional relief fund. 

According to the report, this funding will help to some extent, but suggested businesses in the travel, tourism and hospitality sector will require more targeted support.

It remains to be seen how Chipotle Mexican Grill will fare given this backdrop, but the required renovations are likely to take awhile, with the restaurant potentially opening once vaccine distribution is well underway in the Tri-Cities.

As well, the new Chipotlanes are expected to help diners get their meal without having to enter the restaurant.

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