Chipotle's Boorito Promotion Will Be Different This Year. Here's What You Need To Know

As the pandemic continues to linger into the fall, Chipotle has become the latest company to alter its autumnal festivities. On October 15th, Chipotle announced in a press release that Boorito, the company's annual Halloween celebration, will be conducted in a completely digital manner this year. How this will be managed is that from October 29th to October 31st, buy-one-get-one entrée codes will be posted on Chipotle's TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. Fans will then race to text the code-activating keyword to 888-222 before the discount coupons run out. These coupons will only be redeemable on October 31st, via the Chipotle app or their website.

In previous years (as Delish explained in 2019) the Boorito deal would work as a sort of Halloween costume party, with Chipotle offering a burrito, burrito bowl, salad, or an order of tacos for just $4 to anyone who arrived in costume and braved the inevitably long lines. Over the 20 years since the promotions inception (via Chipotle), the Boorito celebration has become one of the company's beloved traditions, hence their effort to keep it going despite the COVID pandemic. The effort to keep Boorito, however, doesn't lessen the pain some fans may feel after the chain's cancellation of free tortillas. Markets Insider lamented the end of the free food hack on October 19th, stating that "customers will be charged $0.25 for every side tortilla added to their orders." It remains to be seen if carrying on Boorito will be enough to mollify fans. 

App-rehending Chipotle's fast food

The reason Chipotle can continue with its Boorito program and, as Markets Insider puts it, "kill" the free tortilla, both connect back to their insistence on using their app or website to activate the BOGO codes. The outlet points out that because of the pandemic, more people have been ordering digitally, meaning that Chipotle is better able to control portion sizes and how ingredients are used. Or, as chief financial officer Jack Hartung explained, "our portion sizes are much more consistent because there's not somebody pointing at every single pan... the crew will see just the way that a customer is looking at them [when ordering in person] and think, 'Oh, I better put another scoop in.'" With online orders, this pressure to over serve disappears.

Online ordering also represents a logical next step in fast food automation. History describes how McDonald's revolutionized the industry by developing their "Speedee Service System" (with considerable influence from Ford's assembly line) in which each person repeatedly performed a specialized task and parts were premade. So the app, which almost every fast food brand has now introduced, is further streamlining the process. According to the Chicago Tribune, the streamlining works. Frequency of visits to fast food restaurants that offer mobile ordering has increased by 6 percent and the amount spent per visit by 20 percent. The outlet says this is because it's now easier to repeat previous orders automatically.