An Open Letter to Chipotle

Dear Chipotle,
As a loyal fan of the Chipotle franchise, I have never questioned your business practices or recipes. I can clearly see that the Chipotle franchise is run by a group of perfectionists, who always strive to be the best. I would never tempt to interfere with perfection, so I have remained silent amid years of Chipotle loyalty. However, I am becoming more and more perturbed by a pressing issue that I feel has gone unresolved for too long. Given my history of loyalty to your franchise, I feel that I have earned my right to make a suggestion that will surely lead to increased satisfaction with your product. I am proposing that chipotle implement a Burrito Incentive Program (BIP) to reward the most loyal of customers.

I have often pondered why Chipotle did not award loyal customers for repeat visits. A stamp program works well for restaurants like Subway and Papa Murphy’s, so it only seemed natural to me that Chipotle would implement a similar program. I have been waiting for a Chipotle incentive program ever since my first visit to chipotle on October 13, 2000. It seems as if there is no reward for being an avid chipotle eater (other than the obvious nutritional and psychological effects that stem from burrito eating).

You may be reading this and thinking to yourself that I do not have the credibility necessary to suggest such an incentive program. However, I feel that I have sufficient credentials to make such a suggestion. According to my calculations, I have visited a Chipotle franchise an average of 1.65 times per week since my first visit in October of 2000. This is roughly 224 weeks that I have been a chipotle addict, with an estimated total of 370 burritos consumed. I have eaten chipotle in 4 different states (Minnesota, Nevada, Wisconsin, Arizona). I have ordered an entire Chipotle meal in Spanish. My chipotle affinity has endured two girlfriends. The longest that I have gone without chipotle during this time period was a mere 9 days (unfortunately, there were no Chipotle franchises in Africa). I was the first person I know to buy a t-shirt from chipotle. I have dressed up like a burrito for Halloween 2 times. I have kissed a woman on Valentines Day to get a free burrito. I have donated to the food shelf for a chipotle 3 times. I participated in the chipotle voting promotion in November of 2004. I have eaten my weight in Guacamole. I have faxed in orders that required two entire fax sheets. I have the phone number for my local Chipotle programmed into my cell phone. I have had entire bank statements where the only charge to my credit card was Chipotle (and the statement required two pages)!

Credentials aside, the real reason why I am writing to you is because I am passionate about Chipotle. In my years, I have seen very few ways to improve the way Chipotle is run; everything is done very well. In fact, in coming up with the concept of a BIP, I realized that perhaps the reason why Chipotle never developed such a program was that they did not want to recycle an old idea. I can see that much of the success of Chipotle stems from doing things in a revolutionary way. This forward thinking attitude lead me to come up with an entire revision to the way I perceive the implementation of the BIP.

Rather than passing out stamps or having a person keep a burrito punch card in their wallet, it occurred to me that the best way to approach the BIP would be to track this information in a cutting-edge way; online! The possibilities are just too great to pass up. (I am making several assumptions for this theory, so this may need to be adjusted in a few areas if these assumptions are not true.) Here is how I perceive the BIP to work:

  • For every purchase, a Chipotle customer is handed a receipt listing several key pieces of information (I believe there is a receipt number, transaction number, and other unique identifying numbers). I am assuming that one of the numbers on the receipt can reference the contents of the order that was placed.
  • A note would be added to the bottom of the receipt telling the customer to go to the Chipotle website and enter their receipt number.
  • The customer would go to the Chipotle website and sign up for a BIP account. The customer would be required to enter several pieces of information about themselves in order to sign up for this account. After they are signed up, they can enter their receipt number, and they will receive confirmation of their previous purchase.
  • All of this information would be stored in a centralized database, and customers will receive rewards based on certain “performance” levels.
  • For example; for every xx burritos this person enters, they will receive a free burrito certificate through the mail (where xx is a number you determine, probably between 8-20), for every yy burritos this person enters, they will receive a free piece of Chipotle merchandise (where yy is a number of burritos needed to get a t-shirt or other paraphernalia).

I believe that this would be a successful program for both the consumer and Chipotle as well. Here is my reasoning:

  • For every signup, you are receiving the personal information from your loyal customers. This allows you to create direct marketing for your customers without needing to solicit information. You can do massive US Mail and email campaigns to your most loyal of customers.
  • Incentives will certainly help a casual Chipotle consumer choose your restaurant over other restaurants.
  • People love free stuff.
  • The word of mouth surrounding the BIP will cause casual Chipotle consumers to crave Chipotle over other destinations.
  • People who fax in Chipotle orders often feel underappreciated. This is because there is quite a lot of work involved with synchronizing 10-15 Chipotle orders, and they are not rewarded for their hard work. With the BIP, all they would need to do is enter their receipt on the BIP website, and they would most likely receive a free burrito for their efforts.
  • Chipotle fans are some of the most passionate people in the world. When they talk about their success with the BIP, others will be more inclined to join the program.
  • This is a very easy way to run contests for chipotle customers at a centralized level.
  • Customers will leave Chipotle with a greater sense of satisfaction.

These explicit benefits, as well as several intangible benefits are certainly a strong enough reason for you to consider implementing a BIP. The BIP allows you to satisfy loyal customers, while still conforming to the Chipotle image. The use of cutting-edge technology to achieve this goal will certainly give Chipotle an edge over competitors.

I trust that as a company, Chipotle takes the requests of their customers very seriously. I am very serious about this proposal, and I would love to provide any feedback you may require in order to see to the successful implementation of the Burrito Incentive Program.

Thank you for your time,

Jeff Sauer

P.S. While I have the floor, I would like to express my concern that there is currently no Chipotle location in Roseville, MN. I have done extensive research, and I know that a franchise placed in this city would yield beaucoup profits. What needs to be done to have a franchise built in my area? I can get a list of signatures, sworn statements from credible sources, or whatever else it takes to get Chipotle in my town!

About Jeff Sauer

I started blogging in the year 2000, and go in spurts of inspiration followed by long dormancy. I love writing, and your comments keep me going, so comment!

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Comments

  1. Kristi Sauer says

    I still think this was a great idea and that you proposed it very appropriately. Any word about a Chipolte going in near Roseville anywhere??? I haven’t had Chipotle in so long but I ahve plans to meet friends there this Friday 🙂

  2. Jeff Sauer says

    No word on Chipotle in Roseville yet… however, I did register a domain name http://www.chipotleroseville.com. Expect for me to make another push some time in the near future.

  3. Theresa Decker says

    Chipotle is now at the Rosedale Mall

  4. Jeff, I have been in Roseville for about 3 years now and I am glad that they finally have a Chipotle! Hopefully because of your detailed plan to do so. Now if I can just get my wife to eat there I’d be set!!! Congrats on the new Chipotle.

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