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Today in Food Tech: Walmart Expands Ghost Kitchen Partnership, Chipotle Gamifies Rewards

Today in restaurant and grocery tech news, Chipotle soups up its loyalty rewards and Walmart adds a 25-brand ghost kitchen in Rochester, New York. Plus, an update on the state of the restaurant industry.

As Digital Sales Hit $2B, Chipotle Offers New Rewards

Chipotle Mexican Grill is rolling out upgrades to its rewards program, which has helped the fast-casual chain earn more than $2 billion in digital sales this year. The company announced on Wednesday (Sept. 1) that it is launching Extras, an exclusive feature that gives its 24 million rewards members access to extra points, allowing them to get free food quicker. The QSR has also gamified the rewards program with challenges to earn points and achievement badges, something the company says is a first for its industry.

Walmart Leverages Digital Ordering Boom with 25-Brand Ghost Kitchens

Walmart is delving further into the ghost kitchen space, opening a location with up to 25 restaurant brands in Rochester, New York. Ghost Kitchen Brands announced Wednesday (Sept. 1) that it is expanding its partnership with the retailer, which has until this point only featured locations in Canada, to reach the United States.

Restaurants’ Recovery Endangered by Delta Variant

The National Restaurant Association’s mid-year supplement to the 2021 State of the Restaurant Industry Report finds that, while restaurants are performing much better than last year, coronavirus outbreaks threaten to keep consumers away. However, PYMNTS data show that restaurants are far better positioned to meet these consumers’ off-premise needs than they were at the start of 2020.

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