Chipotle Is Giving Away 21 Million Burritos So That Their Stores Stop Looking So Empty


Chipotle is in so much trouble after that pesky E.coli outbreak (and a norovirus scare that shut down a restaurant in Boston) that not even closing all of its stores and giving out coupons for free burritos as an “apology” was enough to allow the chain to recover.

The solution? Give away even more coupons!

According to Grub Street, that day that Chipotle first gave out vouchers for free burritos, 5.3 million of those were claimed. However, that wasn’t enough to turn the flagging fast-casual chain’s fortunes around. In fact, the Chipotle brand is about to post a loss for this quarter, its first since going public. So the chain is trying to entice customers back by mailing coupons en masse for free burritos, until they reach 21 million coupons given away. As of now, they’ve given out 6-10 million.

Why are they doing this? Because the stores now look so empty, and the “optics” of that are driving customers who would otherwise stop in away. Sounds plausible. I certainly think of E.coli every time I walk past a Chipotle now, and see how uncrowded it is. Unfortunately, I don’t know if getting a free voucher in the mail will change that perception for me.

(Via Grub Street)