We love our food. We especially love our food when it’s part of a promotional special that gives it away for free. It also helps that there’s an informal holiday for almost anything imaginable. Many of them revolve around food, which makes America really excited.
If you’re unfamiliar with Chipotle, they hand make burritos to-order with whatever you want in them. A source of contention among Chipotle enthusiasts is being charged extra for guacamole*. Avocados are expensive and people love guac — especially Chipotle guac — so we understand that.
Chipotle had a brilliant idea for National Avocado Day. Give the masses free guacamole. They put on a promotion that, on their website and app, any orders with the promotional code AVOCADO would receive free guacamole with their food. Predictably, people went bonkers for it.
The collective glee of the masses soon turned to disappointment as Chipotle’s website and app servers crashed under the overload of lunch-rush order traffic. Unable to order online, people couldn’t score their free guac and the deal didn’t apply to in-store purchases. Hungry, flustered, and guac-less, angry patrons brandished their metaphorical torches and pitchforks and flocked to social media, voicing their disappointment by the thousands.
The restaurant chain has an excellent social media voice and presence. Making a playful reference to Kim Kardashian breaking the internet a few years ago, they tweeted: “Free guac on National Avocado Day, groundbreaking. Actually, internet-breaking. Getting our servers back up ASAP.”
Trying to take it in stride, things just kept going wrong. In Ohio, two customers became sick. Bringing back memories of a 60 person E. Coli outbreak in the very same state from one of their branches in 2015, Chipotle closed that store for the day, not willing to risk a repeat.
If it couldn’t get any worse, food safety worries caused Chipotle’s stock value to fall 6% on National Avocado Day. While 50% of the world’s steel supports physical infrastructure, Chipotle’s was crumbling around them unsupported under the weight of their avocados. From crashing servers to illness to all of it being reflected on Wall Street, Chipotle didn’t have a good Avocado Day.
The cherry on top was competing Mexican chain, Qudoba’s tweet:
“Best thing about no promo codes? They can’t fail when you need them most. #freetheguac,” they tweeted.
Serving free guacamole every day, they couldn’t help but throw some shade.
Resilient in the face of failure, Chipotle got up, dusted itself off, and got right back into the guacamole game. In a statement, they addressed the issues of Avocado Day Vol. 1 and announced they were continuing the promotion for another day.
“Today’s enthusiasm showed us that customers want online ordering solutions, and we’re committed to making our digital options bigger and better in the future,” Chipotle’s statement read.
They went on to keep the free guacamole flowing with online and app orders for another day. This time no code was needed and all was well. Rock on, Chipotle. Way to bounce back.
*Note: James Zahn aka The Rock Father™ (Publisher of this website) hates avocados and despises guacamole. He made it very clear to me that a disclaimer to his thoughts on guacamole was required in order to publish this article. He does love Chipotle, though, but coined the hashtags #KeepItGuacFree #GuacFreeForMe earlier this year.