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Chipotle adding menu item, loyalty program

Posted at 3:41 PM, Jun 29, 2016

Chipotle announced Wednesday that it is adding chorizo to its meat selection in several US cities, beginning today. 

Chorizo is a spicy chicken and pork sausage, which can be added to Chipotle's traditional offerings of burritos, salads, bowls and tacos. 

Chorizo will be available in Columbus, Ohio, San Diego, Sacramento, Calif., and New York City (Manhattan locations). It will also be an option at one restaurant near Chipotle's headquarters in Denver, and at Washington-Dulles Airport. 

Chipotle expects chorizo to be an option at all of its locations by the fall. 

“Since we opened the first Chipotle 23 years ago, our menu has changed very little, and our focus has been on constantly improving the quality and taste of the food we serve,” said Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle. “While we have never been opposed to changing our menu, we only do so when we think there’s an opportunity to add something that is really unique but that fits within our overall menu, and where we can find ingredients that meet our high standards.”

The announcement comes two days after Chipotle revealed a loyalty program that will reward customers with free entrees. 

The loyalty program is set to begin Friday, and run through the end of September. 

Here is how the program will work: 

  • To participate, customers can visit any U.S. Chipotle starting July 1 to pick up a Chiptopia card.
  • Customers then earn credit toward the various status levels for individual visits within the same month during which they spend a minimum of $6 before tax.
  • During each month of the program, a customer’s fourth, eighth and 11th visit and entrée purchase triggers a reward for one free entrée and elevates the customer to a new status level.
  • Redeemed rewards also count as a purchase toward reaching the next status level. Thus, customers purchase four entrées in any month of the program to earn Mild status; eight entrées (one of which can be the free entrée earned for the Mild level) to reach the Medium level; and 11 entrées (another one of which can be the free entrée earned in the Medium level) to unlock the Hot level.
  • At the end of each month, purchase totals reset to zero, and participants begin again the following month.
  • A maximum of one visit (with a purchase of $6 or more) per member, per day counts toward Chiptopia rewards. Purchasing multiple entrées on the same day does not earn additional rewards (for example, if a customer buys three meals at one time or in the same day it only counts for one visit, not three).

Customers who reach at least mild status get one free entree. Reaching medium status all three months earns customers a $20 credit to the Chipotle Store. Earning hot status all three months gets you catering for 20, which Chipotle considers a $240 value.