While Chipotle has long offered a delivery option, the company recently launched a free delivery campaign in response to the closing of many dining rooms due to COVID-19. As many people were stranded at home due to shelter-in-place orders, Chipotle free delivery was designed to provide extended access to Chipotle’s products to people who did not want to travel. However, due to rising costs, Chipotle ended free delivery on May 10 and reverted to a $1 + service fees delivery option. We set out to examine the reactions and feedback of customers on social media to Chipotle’s free delivery, and by extension, the end of the free delivery offer. In order to evaluate a wide range of tweets both before and after the end of free delivery, we examined 80 tweets between May 1, 2020 and May 13, 2020 mentioning the keywords “chipotle,” “free,” and “delivery.”
Figure 1.1 – Overall Reaction to Chipotle Free Delivery
We found that reactions to Chipotle’s free delivery service was mixed, with 46.5% of tweets in the selected time frame having a positive tone towards Chipotle, 35.4% of tweets having a negative tone, and 18.2% of tweets being neutral or indifferent. The positive tweets contained a variety of messages, with some users appreciating the convenience of free delivery, while others were simply positive towards the food or service from the restaurant chain as a whole.
Figure 2.1 – Negative Reaction to Chipotle Free Delivery
As we examined the negative feedback on Twitter towards Chipotle free delivery, we found that there were multiple reasons for negative tweets or complaints. Approximately 43% of negative tweets involved delivery orders being incorrect, containing the wrong items, or being poor quality food, while another 29% of tweets were from users complaining that Chipotle did not deliver to their area, and 14% of negative tweets were regarding delivery time being too slow or other delivery issues. Only 14% of negative customer feedback on Twitter during the selected time frame involved the end of the free delivery promotion.
While Chipotle free delivery seems to have been well received overall, it may not have been as popular as the company may have thought. However, social media does tend to skew towards negative feedback since customers are often more motivated to tweet complaints, either as venting or in hopes of getting a response from the company. However, a larger and more in-depth analysis could review and analyze tweets from the announcement of the free delivery promotion to see the initial reaction and feedback from customers and Twitter users. Some of the negative tweets did focus on the fact that Chipotle had not addressed the end of the promotion (other than in replies to customer questions) and was now adding service fees. Additional transparency on social media in regards to this promotion and future delivery charges would be helpful to Chipotle as they transition from a free delivery model to a low cost option.