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Boo: Chipotle Doesn’t Make Good After Halloween Promo Backfires

Many people look forward to Chipotle’s annual Halloween “Boorito” promotion where the company offers any burrito at a low, low price. Once only $3, now the discounted meal will set you back $6. It was even named Bargain of the Week in Consumer World last week.

This year, they made the promo online only and only for rewards members. Historically, it was a walk-in promotion where anyone could get the promotion if you dressed in a costume. Many a year MrConsumer donned his turkey outfit to take advantage of the offer.

Edgar at Chipotle

About 4 p.m. on Halloween, I went online to order my $6 burrito bowl (you can get twice as much food in a bowl compared to in a burrito) but could not log in. They instituted a two-factor authentication process and their system was not sending the secret six-digit code before it expired in five minutes. And then the entire site went down.
Chipotle down

I checked the Facebook and Twitter accounts, and could not find a word about the problem that continued for hours. (Business Insider found a couple of posts directing customers to just go to the restaurant to get the deal, but some reported that stores refused to honor it.) Calling the local store was no help either. They were not taking phone orders, and the recorded phone message mentioned nothing about the problem.

Eventually, I was able to log in and put the burrito bowl I wanted in my cart. At the checkout, the system refused to accept the correct promo code “boorito” and was charging full price.

After spending over two hours trying to get the advertised promotion, I used their automated chat to complain. Two days later the company responded.


I’m sorry to hear that there were some difficulties redeeming this year’s Boorito promotion. Due to extraordinary demand, we experienced intermittent technical issues on our app and website for guests placing digital orders. As a customer service gesture, I have added a free chips-and-guac offer into the rewards section of your Chipotle account.

Give me a break. The company disappointed probably tens of thousands of customers, and they have made no broad public apology nor provided a make-good offer of equivalent value to all their rewards members.

We contacted their media representatives to ask if they were going to offer something to all of them. They responded:

Due to extraordinary demand, we temporarily experienced intermittent technical issues on the app and website for guests placing digital orders on Halloween. We resolved the issue and honored the promotional offer inside our restaurants and on digital.

Of course, they never sent an email to rewards members alerting them to the problem and suggesting the in-store alternative.

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12 thoughts on “Boo: Chipotle Doesn’t Make Good After Halloween Promo Backfires”

  1. oh my. So much energy expended to get something for free. I sincerely hope the company doesn’t offer anything next year… Or offers something small as a Halloween Freebie treat.

  2. How convenient that the site goes down on a day that the company would expect to lose their butts on a bunch of $6 burrito bowls. I’m not saying they caused the site to go down intentionally, but I’m saying it certainly could be construed as malicious to not ensure your site is scalable to the demand you’re expecting when that demand is from people who would be costing you money.

    Either way, the choice to make it online only was clearly intentional and may have played a part in the site going down. Chips & Guac is hardly a replacement for a $6 burrito bowl.

    FWIW I’d have gone into the store and expected good ol’ human compassion and empathy to net me a $6 burrito.

  3. It’s only a fun promotion when it actually works! Seems like they were ill-prepared for an online onslaught, but then didn’t care enough to actually make good on the offer after recovering.

  4. I get a Reader’s Digest email called “Read Up”. Today, they listed the most trusted (and least trusted) fast food restaurants. At the top were McDonalds, KFC, and Pizza Hut. (Comment: I didn’t make up the list).

    Chipotle was the least trusted name due to the food safety issues in the recent past.

    Maybe Chipotle was looking out for your safety by making it difficult, if not impossible to order.

    “Read Up” is a daily selection of articles, usually ’20 reasons why you should do something’. They are usually from articles in the magazine.

  5. I’ve found much better alternatives to Chipotle.
    I don’t go to them anymore. Quality and service have dropped substantially.

  6. I have never understood why restaurants use the term ‘burrito’ bowl. A burrito is made of ingredients WRAPPED in a tortilla, when you put those ingredients in a bowl it is NO LONGER a burrito. ??

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