Chipotle Offers Excellent Customer Service Along With Free Burrito

Every Halloween folks from all over this great nation of ours put tin foil on their heads and go to Chipotle for a free burrito. The conceit is that you are “dressed like a burrito” for Halloween, but the good folks at Chipotle don’t really care if your costume required things like “skill” or “effort.” They just fork over the free burrito if they see tin foil. Bless them.

Gregg writes:

Writing to let you know about a great experience I had on Halloween evening at Chipotle restaurant on Kirkwood Ave. in Bloomington, IN.

I live in Atlanta and was traveling through Bloomington Ind. on Halloween and decided to get a burrito at Chipotle, near the IU campus. Upon walking in, I noticed dozens of college students with tin foil on various parts of their bodies…tin foil masks, hoods, hats, wrist bands, arm bands, tube tops, pants, etc. Strange, but yeah, this is a college town and it is Halloween night.

I was standing in line behind two frat boys wearing tin foil on their head, and they must have noticed my strange look (I’m a couple of decades over college age) because one of the guys told me that anyone wearing tin foil that night got a free burrito, any kind, anything on it. One guy tore a small piece of foil off of his piece and handed it to me so of course I put it on my head and ordered my chicken burrito with guacamole. Got down to the cashier who looked at me, smiled and said “looks you got the tin foil” and charged me a buck something for my drink and that was it. A free burrito.

Had a great dinner and left with a smile on my face at having been part of a really cool promotion by a restaurant I love to eat at anyhow.

Big thanks to Chipotle for the free food and the great idea.

Last time we went to Chipotle for our free Halloween burritto (we didn’t make it this year, sadly), we gave the next guy in line our complete “burrito bol” hat (which was awesome, by the way) and they gave him a free burrito. They saw us do it. They didn’t care. Good for them.

(Photo:stirwise)

Comments

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  1. vladthepaler says:

    Now you tell me…

  2. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    In addition to helping you get a free burrito, the tin foil hats also do an excellent job at blocking out the mind probe rays.

  3. meeroom says:

    God I love Chipotle. I wish I could own one. What a great company. I hope they stay that way!

  4. Dead Wrestlers Society says:

    I miss Chipotle a great deal. There used to be one right across the street from my job in Bethesda. I think I got a free one one time for voting.

    Come to southeastern Va Chipotle!

  5. Geekybiker says:

    Chipotle is awesome. Though the one near me change the guacamole a couple months ago and now its not nearly as good as the old stuff.

  6. DeeJayQueue says:

    You all know they are or were owned by McDonalds right?

    I like Moe’s better anyway.

  7. remusrm says:

    Chipotle is great… There is one right by my house. Awesome food and I might add is healthier then other fast food joints. The place is always packed, and if you want you can have a cervesa while eating there. Great place but what is not so great that the parent company is Mc.Shit.

  8. xredgambit says:

    Damn why did I not know about this? I personally blame the consumerist for not reporting it on the day it happened.
    Dear Consumerist,

    I am a loyal subscriber. I have been reading your web page for over 10 years, or 1 year, which ever is shorter. You are normally a great place to find information on deals and how to get what I need to be resolved. But by failing to report this, I did not get a free burrito.

    Ummm I want 10 free burritos or else just to let us know when more free food is coming. You did let us know of free taco day, free scoop day, and free doughnut day. How could you miss this one?

  9. Bye says:

    Full divestment of McDonald’s majority interest in Chipotle was completed in October of 2006.

  10. chipslave says:

    Per Wikipedia, McD is no longer a partial owner:

    Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) is a Denver, Colorado-based chain of Fresh Mex restaurants specializing in San Francisco burritos and tacos. Founded by Steve Ells in 1993, the restaurant is known for its chunky guacamole and large burritos. Chipotle is one of the first successful chains in the relatively new category of fast-casual dining establishments. In the past, McDonald’s Corporation owned a majority interest in Chipotle. Full divestment was completed in October of 2006.

  11. Sytteg says:

    Our first Chipotle just opened and the first day they gave free burritos and drinks to everyone from 11A-7P two days before their grand opening. At their grand opening you could register to win free burritos for a year and they gave out magnets, “Life is Burritoful.” Then on Halloween you could get a free burrito with tinfoil… I’ve had many a burrito in the past two weeks!!

    @GEEKYBIKER: The guacamole changes seasonally depending on which region is producing avacados at that time. Ours is serving Hass right now. I saw the box while they were slicing the avacados.

  12. GreatCaesarsGhost says:

    McDonald’s is crap, Chipotle is awesome. Who cares if one owns the other?

    @Geekybiker:
    I think there have been some issues with avacado supplies this year. My local shop was out of guac several times and blamed a national shortage (which will be amplified by the wildfires).

  13. SwatLax says:

    @remusrm: Before you assume that Chipotle is healthier than other fast food options, you should check out one of the numerous Chipotle nutrition sites.

    [www.chipotlefan.com]

    A basic Burrito is easily as bad as something from McDonalds.

  14. jesseraub says:

    I just feel bad that the guy had to stop in Bloomington, IN. This place sucks. However it’s funny to hear about us in different places.

  15. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    @xredgambit:

    You missed a key point in your strongly-worded letter:

    “If I do not receive a response within 14 days, I will assume that you are not interested in resolving this issue. I will take my complaint to the media, including Consumerist.com, a widely-read consumer blog.”

    Oh, wait…

  16. Meg Marco says:

    @xredgambit: It happens every year, I thought everyone knew. They do it on Tax day too. I’ll post it next time. Sorry about that.

  17. jpmoney says:

    Maybe its because I’ve been lucky enough to have Freebirds available, but I’ve never been a big fan of Chipotle. Everything they put in there is bland and the customization isnt up there with FB. Oooooo, cilantro in the rice! How novel…

    Still good to hear that a) they’re not owned by McD’s anymore and, b) that they’re good at PR – not something that comes along much these days. I wonder how much the two have to do with each other…

  18. Meg Marco says:

    @xredgambit: Ohhh… by the way, if you’ve been reading us for 10 years you would have seen last year’s free burrito post. =) [consumerist.com]

  19. theblackdog says:

    @Consumerist Moderator – ACAMBRAS: AHAHAHAHA, I’d love to see that letter appear here!

    But in all seriousness, Consumerist dropped the ball on this one, I would have so been there to get a free burrito.

  20. Emrikol says:

    @jesseraub: Trust me, there are _MANY_ places in Indiana that are worse. Consider yourself lucky.

    39.035082,-87.166134

  21. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    @meghannmarco:

    Now I’m really hungry after reading this post. And I don’t want to wait until tax day. I might actually have to go pay for some food. ):-|

  22. xredgambit says:

    @Consumerist Moderator – ACAMBRAS: Damn I forgot that part. Nothing would be better than seeing the suits at the consumerist squirm at the thought of being featured in a negative way on the consumreist.

    @meghannmarco: You are forgiven. I accept your apoligy and submit to my lie. You truely know the art of customer service. I will continue to purcase you array of fine lead based toys and never have my receipt checked for it.

  23. jesseraub says:

    @Emrikol: I guess it’s easier to hate coming directly from Lakeview in Chicago.

  24. Meg Marco says:

    @xredgambit: Please enjoy this coupon for a year’s worth of free Consumerist!<3

  25. xredgambit says:

    @meghannmarco: I accept your appology. It is nice to see that a suit for the consumerist can take the time out of her busy day and talk to the little people. Just please don;t forget you are on the internet and most of us like free things, esp food.

    @Emrikol: I once had to drive for about an hour through indiana when going across the country and I swear it smeall horrible from border to border. 2nd worst state I passed thourgh. Utah was #1. But I dream of they day we just fence it off and out all our garbage, convicts and leave the mormons there.

  26. ChChChacos says:

    Consumersit, shame on you for not telling us a few days before hand!

  27. Rando says:

    @remusrm: McDonalds hasn’t been their parent company for quite some time now…

  28. Rando says:

    @SwatLax: But atleast the food is real

  29. Geekybiker says:

    Oh so you dont miss it, they typically run a deal where if you buy a $5 gift card the week before valentine’s day you can come in on valentine’s day and show the reciept for a free burrito.

  30. mandarin says:

    Dont they charge nearly 10$ for a burrito?

  31. Dervish says:

    I love Chipotle. In addition to their tax-day/halloween/election day promos, the stores in our area do a canned food drive at least once a year. Bring in something non-perishible, get a burrito. I agree that they’re not the healthiest thing (sodium, anyone?) but I get two meals out of one burrito, so it’s not the worst thing in the world for me to eat.

    Plus, their chips are like crunchy, salty, lime-y heaven in my mouth. I want to figure out how to make them at home.

  32. Ramrod says:

    That same Chipotle gave free burritos out to everyone who came in the day they opened. The line was around the block. When I finally made it to the front they were out of the meat I wanted. Well, not actually out, they were in the middle of cooking some up. Because I had to wait two minutes longer for my free burrito that I had just waited an hour for already, the manager gave me a coupon for another free burrito. Awesome service. They got it back though. Probably ate three of those a week for two years.

  33. Toast442 says:

    I love Chipotle’s food, but had a really bad experience at a new one that opened near my office a few months ago.

    The lady behind the counter filled my tacos with three or four small pieces of chicken each (literally – three or four bite size pieces.) When I asked her to put more on, she told me extra meat was $1 (or something like that.)

    The manager was running the cash register so I asked him about making it better, and he said “Sorry – we’ll try to do better next time.” – and then proceeded to do nothing and rang up my purchase. I walked out and left everything on the counter.

    Never going back.

  34. Geekybiker says:

    @mandarin: Its $5.xx for a burrito. Plus a drink is $7.xx at least here in Chicago.

  35. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Chipotle does not have raw onions on the serving line, and I hate as in HATE HATE HATE green peppers, so I don’t want the “fajita mix”. My fiance LOVES the place, so we go there all the time, but every time we go, I have to re-educate the staff to get me a little cup full of RAW onions from the back, where they keep them prepped for cooking. (“Cebolla cruda, por favor…”)

    You would not BELIEVE the hassle I’ve gotten from some places. One manager flatly refused and wouldn’t even tell me why. Another one told me with a dead-straight face that it was illegal because of health regulations to serve raw onions in the City of Houston. (NOT.) Another time the line cooks said they couldn’t do it without authorization in writing from the district manager. Damn, if they were as clever at doing their jobs as they were at making up excuses not to, they’d own their own damn restaurants.

    A letter to Chipotle HQ got me three free burrito coupons for my trouble, and apparently a memo went out to all Houston locations, because whenever I get hassled again (far less often), I tell them, “I’m the chick who wrote corporate.”

  36. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @Toast442: Do write to Corporate. Use the form on their otherwise maddening website. They do apparently read them and respond.

  37. tseabrooks says:

    For 2 years Myself and a friend frequented the same Chipotle every day for lunch. After about a month the manager started sitting with us and eating with us. We usually only had to pay 3 -4 times a week and the rest were on them. They really know how to treat returning customers.

  38. scarletvirtue says:

    @Dervish: The chips *are* so good – all crunchy and salty and evil!

    Now, my Chipotle story: I’d gone there for lunch several months ago, and a customer a few people ahead of me in the queue was at the register to pay for her lunch. When she realized that she’d left her wallet at her office, she told the manager, “Keep the burrito here, and I’ll come back with the money”. The manager’s response was to let her have the burrito, free of charge.

    That, to me, was excellent customer service.

  39. skittlbrau says:

    @jesseraub: Clearly you have never been to Cedar Lake, Indiana. Or Martinsville.

    Seriously, Bloomington is a bastion of urbane thought and diversity compared to much of the state.

    And this is coming from someone who grew up in Indiana.

  40. Travis Hudson says:

    I took advantage of this offer with a foil hat. I remember back in my college town (Manhattan, KS) the lines would wrap around the building for this promotion, but the lines were non-existent in Dallas.

    There was a guy behind me who didnt know what was going on and the lady who presses the tortillas handed him a piece of foil so he could get his free burrito as well.

  41. synergy says:

    They’re fair to middling. As someone else said, I find most of their stuff mild or bland. And the serviing size is just ridiculous, but as others have also said, I’ve made two (or three!) meals out of one burrito. The tortillas suck, but that’s not exclusive to Chipotle. Nasty factory-made package stuff I think every American not of Mexican background likes to eat. Yuck.

  42. synergy says:

    (And as for Indiana, I can attest that South Bend sucks.)

  43. Ramrod says:

    @synergy: This is a statement of fact.

  44. RandomHookup says:

    I live in chain restaurant Burrito Central — Davis Square in Somerville, Mass. We have a new Chipotle, a Boloco (regional chain), Anna’s Taqueria (two in walking distance) and a couple of other places. I knew about this promo, but didn’t realize how little one had to do to earn a freebie. I even got the email (sign up, folks, it’s easy).

    I guess I was too distracted with the 2 free World Series Champ burritos Boloco put on my customer card. Since my buddy and I have 5 cards between us, we will be eating burrito good for the next week when they expire.

  45. LadyER says:

    FYI, Mc D’s does not and has never owned Chipotle. At one point they did back them financially (so they could open more locations), but no longer have any hold or financial involvement with the business.

    Aside from that…I L-O-V-E Chipotle! The one near me in SD has the BEST Staff around!

  46. benchman says:

    I used to live in Denver where Chipotle started and they are always running different “Free Burrito” promotions. Besides dressing up as a burrito for a free burrito they would have college night where if you should a student ID you would get a free burrito. Or they were would partner with local stores, where if you spent at least $25 bucks at the store, bring in your receipt and you would get a free burrito. This was popular when they partnered with liquor stores. Also, they would do food donations, bring in a can of food or two and get a free burrito.

  47. drummer_kev says:

    @benchman: Oh God, I miss Anna’s Taqueria every day. Super Carnitas is a slice of heaven.

  48. TVarmy says:

    McDonald’s did own the majority of Chipotle’s for a while, but they did not make any decisions for Chipoltle. They just let Chipotle’s run itself and make them money.

  49. iMike says:

    A chicken burrito with beans/rice/cheese/sour cream has ~1200 calories, or about 2/3 the daily calorie allotment for a 150 lb person. Factor in some chips and a Coke, and it’s the only meal a person of that size needs all day.

    [www.chipotlefan.com]

  50. seniorgator says:

    I went to the Chipotle in Gainesville, FL at 10:05 (5 minutes after the promotion stopped) and still got a free burrito and made friends with the guy who made it. I love them.

  51. magus_melchior says:

    (semi-OT) I remember the burrito shops in Berkeley. 2 La Burrita (north and south of the UC campus), and a High Tech Burrito each on Solano and either MLK or College. Go further south to Emeryville’s shopping mall near IKEA, and there’s a burrito shop there with some tasty stuff. They should all still be around unless Baja Fresh sucked the life out of them all (or Chipotle set up shop nearby).

  52. kazoni says:

    @Travis Hudson: They still run those promos at Kansas State. There was one during first week of classes that all you had to do is show up with a university ID card and you got a free burrito between like 5-8pm. The line was out the door and down about 3 blocks. They are always doing some promo it seems which for a college town is amazing.

  53. thetanooki says:

    A few weeks ago, I went to the Chipotle on Jackson in Chicago. I had a craving for their carnitas (pork), but there was none left. The guy told me that a new batch would take 10 minutes to make, so I just said I would wait.

    When I finally got my burrito, I got to the register and they gave me the burrito for FREE since I waited. I was slightly confused as to why I was getting a free burrito, but I guess that is just because I have become so used to awful customer service from other places.

  54. edwardso says:

    Chipotle in Denver gave out a coupon a couple years ago where you could bring in a friend who had never eaten there and both of you got a free burrito

  55. BenjamminBloomington says:

    I’m a HUGE Chipotle fan.
    I actually work part time at the Chiptole mentioned in this article, and I love it there. Why? Fantastic co-workers for one, but I’m really there for the food. I was a regular costumer before they offered me a job, I work twice a week and eat there 5 times a week.

    TOAST442 – You my friend are DUE a apology, and a free meal. I’m really sorry you had this experience! Honestly, no excuse.

    As for Mc’Ds – It’s true that Chipotle used their financial capital to to national. It’s also true that other than serving coke I can’t think of anything chipotle has in common. It’s far cleaner, far better, far fresher, and far far better for you.

    Better for you? That’s right!
    A Chipotle burrito may be just as BAD for you as fast food, in that it has as much calories or fat ect, but that is only half the truth. When you get a hamburger and fries all you’re getting is a fatty calorie high meal that is void of much nutritional worth. Many of the Chipotle options are not only good for you with extremely fresh ingredients, but have far more flavor than fast food. They are also healthy in that they are one of the cleanest restaurants I’ve ever seen.

    Anyways, if you missed it keep your eye open – most Chipotle’s have a free burrito day once a year as well halloween!

  56. stancey says:

    Mmmm. I’ve only been to Chipotle once (when I was in LA a couple of months ago), and it was pretty fabulous for a fast food place. I just wish they’d open some in Canada!

  57. up2late says:

    I’ve only been to Chipotle once or twice, but based on some of the great stories here I’ll have to check it out more often. I’m also glad to hear they severed their relationship with Mickey D’s – That always brought up some negative connotations with me.

  58. nffcnnr says:

    Great story. i eat there at least once a week, and frequent several locations near home/work. They consistently provide excellent service and geat quality for the price. Chipotle’s barbacoa burrito rivals the best burrito i’ve ever tasted, which was at Hey Jaun’s in Arcata, CA – a long, long way from where i’m at. Anyone know if Hey Juan’s is still there? Last time i enjoyed a Hey Juan’s was 1993.

  59. userla says:

    I love Chipotle. I once took a friend there who had never and happened to say that they would love it. The manager overheard me and thanked me for bringing in new customers and gave me 2 free meal coupons.

    Wonderful customer service.

  60. MatthewVA says:

    I love the employees at Chipotle. They are always so friendly. I wonder why other FF chains don’t have as good of service as they do. It is hard to think that they are from the same family as micky-D’s. But I guess there is one in every family… Marcia marcia marcia! haha.