July 15 (Reuters) - Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc said on Wednesday it plans to hire as many as 10,000 employees over the next few months to help support the expansion of drive-thru lanes at its restaurants.
The COVID-19 pandemic has curtailed dining-in at restaurants across the United States, resulting in a surge in online orders. Chipotle intends to cater to this demand by speeding up plans to add drive-thru lanes at its outlets.
The company said 60% of its new restaurants will feature a drive-thru, or "Chipotlane", where customers can pick-up orders without leaving their cars.
The burrito chain's online sales jumped 80% in the first quarter and demand on the company's app is not expected to fall any time soon, as virus cases spike in many Southern and Western states.
California, Chipotle's biggest market, rolled back reopening plans on Monday and banned indoor restaurant dining.
Chipotle's hiring blitz comes as the U.S. unemployment rate hovers in double digits, with data last week showing 32.9 million people collected unemployment checks in the third week of June.
Other restaurant chains such Domino's Pizza Inc and McDonald's Corp have also said they would hire thousands more workers. (Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru)