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Another Restaurant Promotion Idea: Chipotle’s “Wrap What You Love”

How do you open your mind to creative ideas?

You can’t press it, you can’t coerce it. No one can really force your brain to churn out ingenious schemes and designs if it doesn’t want to. So what others do is just wait; wait for a bright, innovative thought to come—and when it comes, store it in their memory banks right away (or write it down) and develop it slowly.

But while waiting, the mind has to be fed—nourished, inspired, stirred. Reading, observing and watching how other restaurants do their stuff would allow the mind to fire up and eventually produce a bright idea.

And that’s exactly what we’re doing—feeding your mind with as much ideas about restaurant promotions — fundraising drives, school bakes, kids’ contests, new equipments, contests —so it can pick up and explore one of them.

We chanced upon another exciting campaign, this one coming from Chipotle Mexican Grill, although held six months ago.

Their “Wrap What You Love” contest, in celebration of their 18th anniversary last June 2010, stirred up their customers’ creativity and at the same time highlighted their on-going burrito promotion. As the chefs of all their more than 1,100 locations, in their superior chef uniform, wrapped their burritos in gold-colored foil (instead of the usual aluminum wrap), they encouraged their customers to submit pictures of their most cherished possessions wrapped in gold foil.

A photo of a four day-old baby wrapped in gold foil turned out to be the endearing victor, with the winner awarded a grand prize of $10,000 for being the most popular and most creative entry.

Insiders said that they received all sorts of entries—pianos, dinosaurs and all—but the baby burrito photo, aptly labeled “My Four Day Old Burrito,” beat them all.

The campaign also made sure to infuse a social responsibility aspect to their promotion—for every vote that the winning entry received, Chipotle donated $1 to FamilyFarmed.org, a movement that promotes the production, marketing and distribution of locally grown food. The chain was able to accumulate a total of $96,095, in support of the movement’s programs that assist family farmers in bringing-in more locally grown and responsibly produced food to local markets.

The contest’s aim was to call attention to the kind of ingredients that Chipotle chefs, in their elegant chef uniform, use in their dishes; a commitment the chain calls “Food with Integrity.” They make sure to use better ingredients that come from sustainable sources, and they actively support local farmers who help them achieve their goal.