Since Chipotle’s foodborne illness issues came to light last fall, the company has tried to win back customers by sending its CEO on an apology tour, revamping its food service standards, and now it’s looking to customers’ wallets.
The company recently launched a new promotion offering a discount on bulk orders of burritos during the Super Bowl.
Under the promotion Chipotle will take $50 off the first 1,500 catering or Burritos by the Box orders it receives by Feb. 1.
The discount is valid for one-time use only, and must be applied to orders of 20 or more Burritos in the box option.
Chipotle’s promotion not only falls on Super Bowl Sunday, it also happens to be the day before the company plans to shut down all of its stores for a short period of time to address the recent outbreaks.
The discount is just one way Chipotle has tried to win back customers. Last week, Chipotle co-CEO Monty Moran said it will be doubling the amount of free food restaurants can give away to its customers.
It’s been handing out freebies since “the old days,” but the practice had diminished recently, CFO Jack Hartung said in an interview.
“We’ve always had it, but it just kind of drifted to such a low-grade level that it was kind of non-existent.”
While we don’t know the source of the latest outbreak, raw vegetables can be the culprit. To that end, Chipotle has already discussed some changes to its food prep and cooking procedures. These include dipping onions in boiling water to kill germs, adding the cilantro to the rice when the rice is still hot, using lemon and lime juice to kill pathogens in onions and other fresh ingredients.
Additionally, Chipotle will begin pre-shredding/chopping many non-meat ingredients — cheese, onions, tomatoes, cilantro — at centralized locations, rather than at the stores. That would allow Chipotle to test samples of these ingredients before they are shipped out to restaurants.
Chipotle’s stock price sits is currently down around 40% off its 52-week high, as the outbreak news hurt sales more than had been expected. The company has advised investors that it could be a few rocky quarters before Chipotle sees a definitive, positive improvement.