Fast casual restaurant chain Chipotle has unveiled a new $50 million venture fund that will invest in early stage companies from seed to Series B. Named Cultivate Next, the fund is targeted at start-ups developing food and restaurant tech that lines up with the company’s own growth goals.
“We are looking to make investments that will increase guest access to Chipotle as well as elevate the human experience for our teams,” Chipotle Chief Technology Officer Curt Garner told AgFunder News (AFN) for this article, adding that means “anything from innovations in farming and supply chain, to advanced robotics, and beyond, as long as it helps further our mission to cultivate a better world.”
AFN also cited a number of other technology innovations Chipolte has tested including:
- An artificial intelligence (AI)-powered kitchen robot named Chippy to prepare tortilla chips;
- An AI and analytics tool to manage staffing and scheduling requirements; and
- Radio-frequency identification (RFID) tech for inventory systems at its Chicago distribution center and about 200 Chipotle locations in the Chicago area.