Chipotle’s surprise BOGO burrito day went as well as you would imagine

Store employees were overwhelmed, but corporate spokeswoman, who wasn’t there, says it went great!

Image for article titled Chipotle’s surprise BOGO burrito day went as well as you would imagine
Photo: Scott Olson (Getty Images)

Last Tuesday, July 6, was a buy one-get one free burrito day at Chipotle to support national vaccination efforts. Customers who went in after 3 p.m. and bought an entree and then whispered the secret password—“friends BOGO”—to the cashier could get a second entree for free. We at The Takeout are always in favor of free food and we would have told you about it, except Chipotle gave such little advance notice of the promotion that it was a surprise even to the people who were supposed to be making the burritos.

Advertisement

Can a last-minute restaurant promotion centering around the distribution of free food with a secret password go off smoothly, without long lines, anger, sore feet, or tears? Ha! If you think that, clearly you have never spent time behind the counter of a fast food restaurant.

Insider talked to Chipotle workers in five different states (Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Georgia, and California). They all had tales of horror. The Michigan employee claimed they didn’t know about the promotion until midway through their shift, which was five hours long, without a break; Chipotle hadn’t bothered to schedule extra workers to handle the promotion and that employee’s store was, in fact, understaffed. Consequently, lines were two hours long. The four other workers reported similar situations. “Everyone [working] on the shift is fighting and angry,” said a store manager in California.

Chipotle hadn’t bothered to ship in extra food, either. Long before closing time, locations had run out of essential ingredients, such as lettuce, sour cream, brown rice, steak, vegetables, corn, and guacamole. In order to keep the lines moving, workers skimped on seasonings. “I’ve never seen food served at a lower standard at my store,” said a manager in the Midwest.

And customers noticed. Twitter was full of complaints about the long lines, missing ingredients, and poor treatment of the staff. “[T]hanks for the bogo,” one user tweeted at Chipotle, “but when i came in i saw 2 employees crying. and the whole store was pure chaos. seems like maybe this was really unfair to them, i love chipotle but i’m gonna give it up just to give those poor workers a break. do better.”

Doing due diligence, Insider contacted Chipotle’s corporate office for the higher-ups’ version of events. “It was a very successful day and we were proud to participate in the National Month of Action to encourage vaccinations,” chief corporate affairs and food safety officer Laurie Schalow told Insider. Clearly, she hadn’t visited a Chipotle that day.

DISCUSSION

By
thundercatsarego

“Consequently, lines were two hours long.”

Who THE FUCK waits in line for two hours for Chipotle or any other fast food? WHO? Who are these animals? I’m gonna need everybody to just be a little bit better than this.

True story: One night I planned to get Chipotle and when I drove up, it was utter madness. Line out the door and wrapped around the building. It was one of their “come dressed like a burrito, get a free burrito” days. Nope. Drove home and had something else. A week later, I went back to that Chipotle. As the line made my bowl, I made small talk with the workers and mentioned that I had driven past last week during the madness. “Last week looked nuts,” I said. “I hope people were nice to you and patient while they waited.” It was a nightmare, two employees said. People were rude and impatient all day. I told them I was sorry and that people are shitty. When I got to the register, the manager comped my burrito for “being nice.” It was nice of them, but it also made me sad that so few people treat service workers like people that just being sort of baseline polite apparently stands out.