Would a Free Burrito Win Your Trust?

Article by Christina Crasto | esPResso Staff Writer

Chipotle Andrew Renneisen Getty Images

Photo: Courtesy of Boston Globe

After facing massive E. coli and salmonella outbreaks, Chipotle continues its search for new strategies to regain the trust of its publics. Chipotle’s latest tactic is to offer free burritos by texting the word “raincheck” to 888-222.

Chipotle offered this coupon to appease all their customers, especially those who tried to visit stores on Monday when all 2,000 locations were shut down during lunchtime from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for food safety meetings. These meetings focused on implementing new company policies, including sick leave for all employees, tomato processing only at central plants, restricting meat marinating to during the night and blanching raw vegetables before serving. The objective of these policies is to avoid cross-contamination during the preparation of meat and vegetables.

The main argument against this free burrito promotion is that likely only the people who already trust Chipotle will get the coupon. In addition, based on Chipotle’s privacy policy, the company can collect personal and aggregated data, including web use history after someone texts the coupon code. Chipotle’s decision to close Monday also provided its competitors, such as Moe’s Southwest Grill, Freshii’s and On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina, to offer discounted rates and promotions during lunchtime.

Even in spite of its recent crises, Chipotle seems to be gradually regaining customers’ trust. The question remains: how many more free burritos will it take before the company’s stock can increase its damaged stock price?

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