Wednesday, September 1, 2010


This is an ongoing exchange. I'll keep you updated.

Dear Chipotle,

I’m a chipotle convert. I’ll be honest, I thought the burritos were overrated for a long time.

Near my work there is a Chipotle across the street from a Rubio’s. When the Chipotle first opened, I kept going to Rubio’s because the food is good and the line was never as long. But once I tasted a Chipotle barbacoa taco, I was sold. I love it and I go all the time.

I really do love the food. It’s delicious. The restaurant is always clean, the service is good and fast, and sometimes, if I play my cards right and the burrito guy is a sucker, I can flirt my way to extra meat for free. I really appreciate that.

My one complaint is that you don’t have a punch card. Chipotle is like a religion for people.
You have quite the following. I understand you have free burrito days, but these are always crowded and insane, clearly for reasons of supply and demand. I understand the food is organic and everything, which costs more, and you will probably tell me that you keep your costs low to begin with in order to keep customers coming back.

I really think if you had a punch card, people would get really excited about it. There’s something about knowing that the 10th burrito is free that motivates people. It’s like you’ll eat an extra burrito one week just to get that free one coming up. Case in point: I drive 40 minutes to Café Rio because I know the 10th meal is free – including a drink! I’m clearly spending more money in gas than I’m saving on the free meal, but the salad I get is delicious and there’s just something about knowing they will give me something for free that makes the trek out there totally worth it.

Chipotle, all I’m asking is for you to think about this. I’ll ask around and see how many people agree with me. In the meantime, I’ll still eat my barbacoa tacos, but I’ll be more excited about the free meal from Café Rio.

I love you, Chipotle. Keep up the great work.

Warm regards,
Michelle Cole

Their response:


Thanks for writing to us. I'm glad to hear we won you over, despite your initial skepticism. I also appreciate your suggestion to offer some type of punch card. You may be happy to hear we are actually working on something like this. We just don't want it to be the standard, buy-this-many-get-one-free promo many places have. We want it to be unique to us and something really beneficial.

For now, we sometimes give our food away for free for certain events and promotions. If you'd like to learn about these events, you might want to sign up for our e-mail mailing list.

This will keep you in the loop for grand opening events and other Chipotle-oriented things in your area. Sometimes, for our grand openings, we have give-aways or even free burrito days. I promise, it's only good stuff - no spam! If you're interested, sign up at

Thanks again! We hope we'll see you soon.


Another letter from me:

Hi Shannon,

I would first of all like to thank you for your reply to my original message. I wanted to check up on the status of the punch-card situation and offer a suggestion. I recently started frequenting a frozen yogurt establishment called Yogurtology. ( They have an oatmeal cookie flavor that is absolutely divine. But anyway, they have started a rewards program with a scan card. So one evening I was buying my yogurt, and they asked me if I wanted to join the rewards program. Of course I said yes!

The checker promptly handed me an absolutely adorable scan card that goes on my key chain. Every time I go, they scan the card and I get points or something. I don't even know how it really works, I just know that I love the little card and I think it's an awesome idea.

I know you want to be unique, and I appreciate that, but I wanted to suggest something similar. Maybe there could be a point system with a website, and you could use the points for either coupons, merchandise, or other chipotle deals. Maybe there could be a free burrito day for members only or something. I don't know. I just thought I would run it past you.

Also, you recently got new menus with icon-type things for the cow and the onion, etc. I'm on the fence about this. It doesn't matter though, because the tacos are still delicious. I love you, Chipotle!

Thanks, Shannon!
Warm regards,
Michelle Cole

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