Did you notice that Chipotle’s across the country were closed on Monday for lunch? What does this have to do with SMS marketing you ask? Instead of Chipotle just closing their doors, turning away loyal customers, they decided to use an SMS autoresponder to offer a free burrito, burrito bowl, salad, or order of tacos, to those customers that were inconvenienced.
How did it all work? Let me show you. First, when a Chipotle customer approached one of the locations that were closed, they were greeted with the following sign on the door. The sign read “We’re closed for lunch today to attend a meeting with all the other Chipotle employees. But don’t worry, we’ll be back open at 3 pm. If we messed up your lunch plans, let us make it up to you: visit chiptole.com/raincheck. See you soon.” You can see a photo of the Chipotle sign below.
FYI – Every Chipotle restaurant in the country closed for lunch on February 8, 2016, so that employees could meet and discuss food safety strategy, following several reports of E. coli linked to the popular burrito chain.
When customers visited chipotle.com/raincheck on their mobile phones, they were told to text “RAINCHECK” to Chipotle’s SMS short code 888-222, in order for Chipotle to hook them up for messing up their lunch plans. You can see this below in the mobile phone screenshot.
If for some reason you didn’t open up chipotle.com/raincheck on your mobile phone, you still could access the website on your desktop computer. A screenshot of the Chipotle website from a desktop computer is below.
The next step was for customers to text message “RAINCHECK” to Chipotle’s SMS short code, which is 888-222. After texting “RAINCHECK” to 888-222, customers received a text message autoresponder message, with a link to a free burrito. You can see the text message below.
When customers clicked on the link in the Chipotle SMS autoresponder, they were taken to the following mobile web page, where they asked for the customer’s first name, last name, and zip code. There was no need for customers to enter their mobile phone number, as that variable was passed to the mobile website when they clicked on the link in the SMS autoresponder. When the customer completed the mobile form, the customer’s mobile phone number was attached to the entry.
After a customer entered their first name, last name, and zip code, and clicked “SEND MY WAY”, they were shown the following message, promising to text customers their free burrito in the next few days. They even used a little sense of humor in explaining that they were not actually going to text message a free burrito to customers, but a coupon that customers could exchange for one. You can see this in the mobile screen capture below.
Then the next day, Chipotle sent the following text message to those customers that had previously texted “RAINCHECK” to 888-222, and filled out the mobile form. As you can see in the Chipotle text message below, not only did Chipotle deliver on their promise for a free burrito, they also gave those customers the ability to receive future text messages, by reply to the SMS shortcode 888-222 with the word “FOIL”.
Ok, so what did Chipotle’s mobile coupon look like? I thought you’d never ask! Below is Chipotle’s mobile coupon, offering a free burrito, burrito bowl, salad, or order of tacos. As you can see, the mobile coupon has the customer’s full name on it, in addition to an expiration date and unique coupon code. The customer then simply presents the mobile coupon to the cashier, the cashier scans the QR code, and the redemption is recorded.
Unfortunately, this SMS campaign was only running for a very short amount of time, between 11:00:00 AM EST on February 8, 2016, and ended at 6:00 PM EST on February 8, 2016. Instead of sending Chipotle customers to a 404 page if they visited chipotle.com/raincheck after 6:00 PM EST on February 8, 2016, they created the following message, telling customers that they just missed the SMS promotion, as you can see in the screen capture below. Never missing a chance to gain more SMS subscribers, Chipotle is telling customers that land on this page to scroll to the bottom of the website, to sign up for future offers and updates.
Chipotle is no stranger to SMS marketing, as they’ve been running SMS marketing campaigns in various forms since 2011. Below are some of the various Chipotle SMS campaigns we’ve written about here on the Tatango blog.
- Chipotle Gold Campaign
- Chipotle Customer Receipt Call-to-Action
- Chipotle Dorm Giveaway Contest
- Chipotle SMS Trivia Campaign
Do you have a restaurant, and are you interested in SMS marketing? If so, we recommend checking out these 10 restaurant SMS marketing examples, and then downloading Tatango’s free guide to restaurant SMS marketing here.