Ten Ways Chipotle Could Regain Its Mojo

The term “burrito delivery drones” might sound like a sci-fi dream, but Chipotle isn’t kidding around: The beleaguered Denver-based company is bringing drone delivery to Virginia Tech University. It’s just a test program, sure, but it’s also a good PR stunt during a time when Chipotle has had, over and over again, some not-so-good publicity. So while you shouldn’t expect drone delivery anytime soon, there are other things Chipotle could introduce to try to regain the public acclaim and positive reputation it once enjoyed. (Beyond the good drink deals it's offering right now, that is.)
What else might Chipotle try? We’re glad you asked: Here are ten ways Chipotle could get its mojo back.

10. Big Costumed Characters
The customers who today crave their organic cilantro rice and antibiotic free-range chicken burritos are the same people who loved the Hamburglar and Grimace and the rest of the McDonaldland gang back when they were kids. Chipotle could not only hit the nostalgia button in each of its customers, but also support the flagging fabric costume economy, which has been in free fall since Sesame Street moved to HBO.

9. Give Away the Guacamole
Seriously…almost two more bucks for guac? We can get two small burgers at most joints for that same two dollars, and some of them come with a green substance that may or may not actually be guacamole. Make that guac gratis, and watch the grateful Chipotle disciples flock back to the promised land.

8. Pugs
Look, Taco Bell had a talking Chihuahua that was sort of a thing for a while. Why not steal the idea, and hire a pug to look adorable while demanding a burrito. Because if there’s one thing pugs love, it’s burritos. Well, all food...but that includes burritos. Check out this video, and just imagine the broccoli replaced with a beef burrito. Because you know that pug is imagining exactly that.

7. Free Prizes in Every Bowl
Take a tip from kids’ cereal, and give us little plastic doo-dad crap with our meal. You know, like a tiny telescope, or a submarine that will actually dive when we take it home and put it in the tub, or a burrito-shaped ink pen. Or hell, go the Happy Meal route and tie in to some recent movie. I’d eat more burritos if it meant a complete set of Star Wars: Rogue One Chipotle action figures, and admit it people: I’m not alone.

6. The Burritomobile
Chipotle needs to get out amongst the people again, go where its former customers gather, show the public that the company isn’t afraid to take to the open road in a giant facsimile of its primary product. Like the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile, the Burritomobile could be the traveling Chipotle welcome wagon for America, bringing good cheer and totally safe (we swear!) food products to the public from a giant fiberglas burrito on wheels.

Keep reading for five more ways for Chipotle to regain its mojo.

5. Guac the Vote!
In a tandem effort with voter participation efforts for the upcoming national election, Chipotle could offer a free cheese quesadilla with guacamole for everyone who comes in on Tuesday, November 8. Better yet, give away a whole burrito. And a Corona. With a slice of lime. This election, we may all need a stiff drink.

4. The Chipotle Blimp
Blimps are already big, fat,and vaguely-cylindrical…so why not dress one up as a burrito and float it over sports events and festivals and the like? It’s worked for Goodyear for going on 100 years now, so it’s definitely something people remember. True, there have been small  versions of this already — mostly tiny drones at small venues like parades and (for some reason) hockey games in Texas. But we need the big enchilada, so to speak. Make that sucker huge, manned, national and very, very visible. The only downside is that safety would have to be paramount, because the last thing Chipotle needs now is a huge embarrassing accident involving the sudden release of volatile gas.

3. Golden Tickets
It worked for Willy Wonka (may Gene Wilder rest in peace), and it could work for Chipotle. The wrappers are already silvery — throw the possibility of some gold flashing out of that wrapping, with the prize being an all-expenses-paid grand tour of the Chipotle headquarters here in fabulous Denver, CO, and watch the American public go wild. True, the tour isn’t the big draw…unless the prize includes, say, a weekend living it up at the Four Seasons downtown, a custom Jeep with a Chipotle advertising paint job, and (of course) a lifetime supply of burritos. Sadly, no magic elevators, bean-juice waterfalls or Oompa-Loompas dutifully mixing guacamole in wheelbarrows, but still…want to change the world? There’s nothing to it.

2. Chipotle Field at Mile High
Just saying: it’s available.

1. Stop Making People Sick
Sometimes the simplest solutions are best.

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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen