Chipotle Mexican Grill is one of the top fast casual restaurants in the United States. However, the chain has been struggling since late 2015, when more than 1,100 customers across the country fell ill after eating at their restaurants. In 2020, the restaurant agreed to pay $25 million to resolve criminal charges related to foodborne illness outbreaks from 2015 through 2018.
If you’re willing to give the chain a try again — or have remained a die-hard fan — take advantage of opportunities to get your Chipotle fix for less.
1. Ask for ‘Half and Half’ Meat
You can get more for your money if you request that the server split your serving of meat into two varieties.
“When you ask for ‘half and half,’ the server tends to be generous on measuring a half serving,” said Kyle James, founder of coupon site Rather-Be-Shopping.com and a regular Chipotle customer. The end result is a bigger, more delicious burrito. They will charge you for the more expensive meat, but you usually won’t get charged for double meat.
2. Ask for Both Types of Rice and Beans
If you really want to super-size your burrito, ask for both white and brown rice, as well as black and pinto beans.
Dylan Grosz, a former intern for the website ApartmentList.com, conducted an experiment to see which strategies would net more burrito at no extra cost and wrote about his findings. After ordering five burritos a day for several days, he found that Chipotle customers could get double the rice and beans, simply by asking for both types of each. Best of all, there’s no extra charge for these added ingredients.
3. Get Extra Fillings for Free
It costs extra — $2.65, according to Chipotle’s online menu — to add guacamole to your burrito. However, there are other fillings you can get for free, if you know enough to ask. Grosz found that servers rarely ask customers if they want to add fajita veggies or chili-corn salsa, but these extras are free and can round out a meat-heavy meal. They also increase the overall amount of food you get at no extra cost.
4. Opt for the Burrito Bowl
Rather than ordering your burrito wrapped in a tortilla, get it in a bowl to net more food, James said. Ask for “half and half” meat and then, as the server fills the bowl with your favorite toppings, politely ask for a little bit more of each.
“Before you know it, your bowl will be huge and can often feed two average adults for under $7,” said James, who eats at Chipotle at least five times a month.
You can even ask for a tortilla on the side. Create the burrito experience on your own, with an even bigger burrito than you’d get by ordering one.
5. Order the Kid’s Meal for Yourself
To avoid overeating and overspending, order a kid’s meal, said Ashley Eneriz, a contributor to the personal finance blog MoneyNing.com. The portions are generous and include two tortillas, three sides (such as meat, cheese and rice), a drink and fruit or chips.
6. Look for Gift Card Promotions
Chipotle occasionally offers special promotions on gift cards — especially around the holidays, James said. For example, one of the more common offers is a free burrito with the purchase of a gift card worth $25 or more. So, if you frequently eat at Chipotle, you can use the gift card yourself. The restaurant has also offered promotions where you can buy one gift card and get a second free, which you can use to buy yourself some more tasty burrito bowls.
7. Keep Your Eye Open for Freebies
Sometimes, Chipotle hands out free food to its customers. For example, in the past, the chain has offered youth soccer players under the age of 14 a “buy-one-get-one-free” deal on burritos, bowls, salads or tacos. All they had to do was show up in their team uniforms.
The restaurant also offered free burritos to people in the wake of closing its stores for a day to train employees on the new safety measures. Follow Chipotle on Facebook or Twitter to learn about its latest promotions.
8. Watch Out for Halloween Deals
You used to be able to get burritos at a discount or for free on Halloween if you were wearing a costume. But since the pandemic, Chipotle has offered online promotions for Halloween instead. In 2021, Chipotle opened a virtual restaurant on Roblox where the company gave out $1 million worth of burritos in the days leading up to Halloween.
9. Be Friendly to the Staff
If you regularly eat at Chipotle, go out of your way to be nice to the servers.
“Being friendly to the staff is a really great way to score some savings,” Eneriz said. “You’ll get a bigger portion most of the time, and you’ll not only make the server’s life more pleasant but yours, too.”
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Sam DiSalvo contributed to the reporting for this article.