Chipotle Wants You Back, Is Offering More Free Food

January 20th 2016

Alex Mierjeski

In a bid to woo back diners, the fast-casual chain Chipotle announced plans last week to bump up the amount of free food it could give away to customers, hoping to create incentive for consumers as the chain's sales tank.

Stores will now double the amount of food they can give away, according to CNBC, which interviewed the chain's co-CEO, Monty Moran, at an investment conference recently. It's not exactly clear what qualifies a customer for free food.

Related: Chipotle to Briefly Close All Restaurants for Safety Meeting

The move could theoretically boost at least physical customer metrics, if not sales, too — that is, if customers feel safe eating the food in the first place.


In recent months, the embattled chain has faced down bout after bout of public relations crises, following multiple outbreaks of E. coli bacteria and norovirus at locations across the country. Chipotle's stocks have plummeted, and the company announced plans to overhaul some of its cooking methods. On February 8, each of Chipotle's more than 1,900 stores will close for a mass company meeting about food safety.


The scandals have thrown existential questions at the company's business model, which lauds the freshness of its food. The company seeks to maintain that model, even though the bacterial outbreaks may have soured consumers and investors on the idea.

On top of establishing a reputation for serving fresher, healthier food, Chipotle founder and co-CEO Steve Ells said he is now "working to establish the company as the leader in food safety as well. Our employees will play a critical role in helping us achieve this goal and we want them to know how much we appreciate their dedication to this critical mission,” Ells said in a news release.