Chipotle fanatics, rejoice: The titanic fast-casual chain has heard your pleas, and it is reaching out to bring you closer to permanent burrito euphoria.
The company on Monday rolled out its first rewards program, dubbed "Chiptopia," aimed at bringing customers back to the once dominant franchise. Set to start July 1 and run through September, Chiptopia is the company's big new bet on rewarding its frequent fliers—folks like 30-year-old Mark Rantal, who ordered the exact same meal at the exact same Chipotle in Colorado Springs for more than 100 days straight. Or like 23-year-old Andrew Hawryluk of Los Angeles, whose Chipotle-a-day streak (dubbed "Chipotlife") extended to 186 days (even as he managed to keep his six-pack.)
It's been a rough year for Chipotle, after multiple outbreaks of foodborne illnesses forced several of its restaurants to temporarily close, and compelled the entire chain to momentarily close all of its franchises nationwide for food safety meetings on February 8. The company said profits sank 44 percent by the end of 2015, with co-CEO Monty Moran admitting then that "2016 will be a very difficult year relative to our past performance."
That's where Chiptopia comes in. The program doles out rewards in stages. Eat at a Chipotle four days in a month—minimum purchase $6, and only visits on different days count—and you achieve "Mild" status, unlocking a free entree. Eat there another four times in that same month, and you reach "Medium" status, meaning another free entree. Another three? You've reached "Hot status," good for your third free entree in a month.
Of course, a physique-minded guy must choose wisely. So if you're gonna order Chipotle for 105 days straight, here are a few healthy options to choose from.