Chipotle Is Trying to Win Customers Back with Free Beer

For all the value of an eight dollar burrito the size of my head, it’s difficult to justify eating at Chipotle Mexican Grill. After the March 2008 hepatitis outbreak, I became cautious. After the April 2008 norovirus outbreak, I started having second thoughts. After the February 2009 campylobacter jejuni outbreak, I said “What the fuck is campylobacter jejuni, and should I be grossed-out by it?” As it’s a bacteria commonly found in animal feces, the answer is yes.

But the magnificent size of those burritos—is it worth eating poop? What the hell is going on in Chipotle’s kitchens? July 2015 saw an E. coli outbreak. August saw Salmonella and another norovirus outbreak. There were outbreaks in October, November, and December. Could there be a more chilling PR nightmare?

Now the company is desperately trying to win their customers back. But months of promotions and a mostly clean bill of health have only gone so far. There isn’t a reporter in the world who’d cover the local franchise of a chain restaurant passing its health inspection. Put simply: Chipotle is going to have to work very hard to win their customers back—and as business is currently down 20 percent, it’s clear they have more work to do.

Enter free booze.

Chipotle is testing the waters with alcoholic drink specials in the Midwest. Thursday evening happy hours means half-price beer in Ohio and Kansas (from 4-8pm); and a two-for-one deal on beer and margaritas in Kentucky, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska.

The company doesn’t serve alcohol in all 50 states, and they aren’t rolling out the drink specials in all regions with a liquor license just yet. But if the promotion proves successful, Chipotle is likely to extend it widely.

So what do you think? Should we forgive Chipotle for making us eat shit and getting us sick? If they’re offering to buy us a beer, I say they can’t be all bad.

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Timothy Bertrand
Writer and journalist living in the Houston, Texas area. Follow me for breaking news, editorials, pictures of cats doing human activities, and other such content from around the web.


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