A few months ago Chipotle announced a summer loyalty program with a name that nobody could pronounce. On the first the of the promotion a greeter at my local Chipotle was handing out cards at the door calling it “Chipoltlia” and the cashier was calling it “Chiptolia.” It was clear very early on that Chipotle’s Chiptopia program was not going to be as successful as Chipotle would have hoped.

With just over a month left in the summer promotion there is still time to get a Chiptopia card and earn a free entree in August and up to three free entrees in September. Signing up for the program is very easy and you can learn more about signing up here.

There are a few quirks with the Chiptopia program that I must have overlooked when the program was originally launched:

  1. Members can only swipe their Chiptopia card once per day. I understand that many find the idea of eating Chipotle twice in one day disgusting, but sometimes food poisoning is the only way to get out of work the next day! In all seriousness, I can’t believe this is a rule. I am assuming this is a rule that was added after the first month when members were swiping for multiple people on separate transactions.
  2. The free entree’s expire. The rewards expire 30 days after they are earned. I am sure this has been in place since the beginning, but I was saving one for some arbitrary reason and lost it. (Rule 1: Earn & Burn, c’mon!)
  3. The Chiptopia program was/is very poorly advertised. The cards are sitting at the register, but I haven’t heard a single employee inform someone about the program if they do not hand them their card. Very few people even know about the Chiptopia program and it is surprising how poorly this program was advertised since the beginning.
  4. If you do not swipe your card prior to paying for your meal, you WILL NOT earn credit for the meal. This has happened to me twice now and it is the most frustrating part of the program. Twice, in a busy lunch rush, I have forgotten to had my Chiptopia card and when I pull it out the cashier tells me that “there is nothing they can do.” I understood this during the first week of the program, but now that we are two months in, I can’t believe Chipotle has not figured out a way to retroactively give credit for a paid entree while still in the location the entree was purchased from.

Honestly, Chiptopia has been quite the disappointment and I am curious to see what the final numbers show. I do not think that Chiptopia brought back customers that were lost to all of the issues the restaurant faced earlier this year. I also don’t think the casual Chipotle customer increased their consumption. I honestly think the program only benefited Chipotle loyalists that were going to buy the entrees anyway. I loved the program, I frequently get Chipotle while traveling and have enjoyed a few free entrees since the program launch in June, but I doubt the program had the impact Chipotle management was hoping for.

The one great thing that Chipotle gave us is this incredible “how to” video!

 

 

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