Chipotle, the super-popular international burrito chain, has had a bad couple of years. A series of E. coli and Norovirus outbreaks have dampened customers’ appetites for its self-described fresh, healthy fare, depressing sales and the company’s stock price.
How to regain the trust and patronage of defected Chipotle customers? Take a page from the travel industry’s playbook and launch a loyalty program, of course.
Dubbed Chiptopia, the new program will initially be in effect from July 1 through September 30, rewarding customers as follows:
- One free entree after the first four purchases within one calendar month
- Another free entree after the second four purchases within one calendar month
- A third free entree after the 11th purchase within one calendar month
All customers who pick up a Chiptopia card after July 1 will receive a free order of chips and guacamole with their first purchase.
Qualifying purchases must total at least $6.00 before tax, and free entrees must be redeemed within 30 days.
Deal or No Deal
With the clock resetting at the beginning of every month, this promotion will only pay out for customers who order from Chipotle at least four times within 30 days. So, once-a-week customers. That means the program is expressly designed for confirmed Cipotle loyalists, or potential loyalists.
Nothing wrong with that, of course. Companies can always make a case for disproportionately rewarding their most profitable customers, just as the airlines are doing with the recent pivot to loyalty programs that directly link spend and rewards.
What’s likely to leave a bad taste in the mouths of less frequent Chipotle diners is the company’s pitch for the program, which seems to suggest that there’s something in it for everyone. There isn’t.
Only certified burrito bingers need apply.
Reader Reality Check
Will this free-burrito promotion affect your Chipotle visits?
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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.