Chipotle is cracking down on the viral '$3 burrito' hack by eliminating the ability to order one of its menu items online
- Chipotle just eliminated tacos from its digital menu.
- Some customers were using a social media "hack" to get burrito-sized portions for just $3.
Chipotle customers will no longer be able to take advantage of a viral hack for $3 burritos, thanks to a new crackdown shared with managers on September 7.
Some savvy customers figured out that by ordering a single $3 taco plus each topping on the side and an extra 40 cents for a tortilla, they could recreate a regular burrito that would typically cost $9 or more. The idea then spread on social media, particularly TikTok.
Chipotle sent an email to restaurant managers, which was viewed by Insider, to alert them that tacos would leave the app on September 7. The email said tacos would be deactivated on the app and Chipotle's website "until futher notice." Customers can still order a single taco in restaurants, the chain said.
"Guests are currently unable to order a single taco from our online ordering systems. While we have long embraced customizations and even released our own hack menu, the current social media trend is resulting in a poor experience for our food, our employees and our customers waiting for orders," Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Laurie Schalow told Insider in a statement.
Chipotle has raised prices over the last year, prompting customers to look for cost-saving deals. In August, the chain said it raised prices "in the mid to high-single digits" in terms of percentage, about $.50 to $1 per entree in most markets. That was on top of a 4% increase in the first quarter of 2022.
Customer attempts to "hack" Chipotle's menu predate the latest price increases. In 2020, Chipotle ended one of customers' favorite ways to get extra food for free by charging $0.25 for tortillas on the side, which has since increased to $0.50 in at least some markets as of September 8.
At the time, CFO Jack Hartung attributed the change to Chipotle's greater ability to gather customer data as more people used the app and ordered online. This resulted in "better controls at the food line," Hartung said at the Raymond James North American Equities Conference.
Similarly, each instance of the taco hack ordered digitally was trackable by Chipotle, enabling it to find and stop it.
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