- Chipotle Mexican Grill this week started a branded hashtag challenge on TikTok starring David Dobrik, YouTuber and "super fan" of the burrito chain. The "Chipotle Royalty" challenge is giving users of the social video app a chance to win $10,000 by proving why their Chipotle order is the best among more than 4 million possible combinations, per a press release.
- Chipotle will feature the three winning entries as an official menu item on its app and website for a limited time. To enter, customers must post a creative video on TikTok that explains why their order is better than others, and include the #ChipotleRoyalty and #contest hashtags in the caption by Nov. 19.
- Dobrik and Chipotle Executive Chef Chad Brauze will review the entries, and the winning items will appear on menus throughout December. The restaurant chain's campaigns continue to leverage TikTok, which has avoided a ban as parent company ByteDance's deadline to find a U.S.-based buyer has been extended until Nov. 27.
Chipotle's latest branded hashtag challenge on TikTok marks the first time the burrito chain has given fans a chance to feature their favorite food combinations on its menu. By running the campaign on TikTok, Chipotle can reach an audience of teens and young adults who are most likely to use the social video app and participate in challenges. Frequent brand ambassador Dobrik has 24 million followers on TikTok, helping to ensure that is announcement of the "Chipotle Royalty" challenge reaches a broad audience. The social app has 100 million users in the U.S., and for the past two years has been a key part of Chipotle's marketing despite the threat of being banned in the U.S. due to national security concerns.
Offering customized menus has become a way for restaurant chains to spark interest in their brands. Chipotle in August teamed with professional skateboarder Tony Hawk in a campaign that marked the first Chipotle menu item named after a celebrity. As a sign of the popularity of customized menus, burger chain McDonald's experienced ingredient shortages after collaborating with rapper Travis Scott on a combination meal inspired by his favorite meal. McDonald's followed that promotion with the "J Balvin Meal," named after the popular reggaeton musician, and offered discounts for the customized menu item on its mobile app. Bakery chain Dunkin' last summer introduced a drink called "The Charli" that was named for TikTok's biggest star, Charli D'Amelio.
By offering the "Chipotle Royalty" menu items on its app and website, the burrito chain is seeking to support digital sales, which more than tripled to $776.4 million in Q3 from a year earlier, making up almost half of total revenue. Among the promotions to support its e-commerce efforts, the chain this week partnered with Uber Eats and dating app Hinge to create the "Chipotle Cuffing Season Menu" for singles seeking a relationship during the colder weather months. Before that, Chipotle introduced a "Real Foodprint" tracker on its digital platforms to let diners measure the environmental effect of their orders, and promoted it with a TikTok video starring TV personality Bill Nye. Around Halloween, Chipotle revamped its yearly "Boorito" promotion as an all-digital event with offer codes on Instagram, TikTok and Twitter to receive buy-one, get-one coupons.