Is free food enough to win back Chipotle's legions of formerly adoring fans? The burrito slinger is certainly hoping so. Following E. coli and norovirus disasters that collectively sickened dozens of people and spurred multiple lawsuits, the company shuttered all its locations today for a few hours for an all-staff food safety meeting.
Those who showed up to grab lunch from Chipotle today were met with locked doors and a sign explaining the restaurants would reopen at 3 p.m. "If we messed up your lunch plans, let us make it up to you," the signs pledge. Anyone who texts "RAINCHECK" to 888-222 between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. EST today will get a coupon for a free future burrito, no strings attached.
All you've got to do is fire up the ol' smartphone and send that text:
Then, fill out the world's shortest form with your full name and zipcode:
Et voila, Chipotle promises to text a free burrito coupon "in the next few days."
While the CDC did give Chipotle the "all-clear" last week, the investigation was never able to pinpoint what exactly caused that nasty E. coli outbreak. The company reportedly believes Australian beef may have been the culprit, although there's also some Chipotle truthers out there circulating some much wilder conspiracy theories.