Chipotle Puts a Stop to TikTok's $3 Burrito Hack

If you want to order a single taco with a bunch of sides, you have to do it face-to-face.

A steak burrito from Chipotle Mexican Grill
Photo: Patrick T. Fallon / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Everyone loves a good "hack." Beyond being a time or money saver, it's an ego boost: You're in the know, smarter than those other sheep doing things the hard way. It's probably why fast food restaurants often promote menu hacks themselves — building intimacy between brand and customer. But a true hack can also expose a flaw in the system, a sort of "menu malware," resulting in chaos: a lesson Chipotle has learned the hard way, forcing them to patch a taco-based vulnerability.

As a more quick-service chain, Chipotle has been the subject of social media menu hacks for years as customers try to save a buck or two on their burritos. But a recent viral hack for a "$3 burrito" propagated heavily on TikTok apparently took things too far.

The heart of the hack takes advantage of the generous amount of customizations users are offered on the Chipotle app: Even when ordering a single taco, customers could select to add nearly every additional ingredient on the side (into those little plastic cups) at no additional cost. From there, users could also order a tortilla on the side which, ironically enough, Chipotle now charges for because of issues with previous hacks. Then, when everything arrived, hackers were advised to dump all the ingredients onto the tortilla and roll the burrito themselves, supposedly resulting in a typically-sized Chipotle burrito for under $4.

To what extent this hack actually worked has been up for debate, but simply dealing with it has apparently been so disruptive that the chain tweaked its online menu. "Guests are currently unable to order a single taco from our online ordering systems," Laurie Schalow, Chipotle's chief corporate affairs officer, told Food & Wine via email. "While we have long embraced customizations and even released our own hack menu, the current social media trend is resulting in a poor experience for our food, our employees and our customers waiting for orders."

The hack has been circulating on TikTok since at least July, but an email sent to Chipotle restaurant managers seen by Insider reportedly stated that the single taco option was officially axed online on September 7; however, single taco orders can be placed in the restaurant itself.

But just how bad was it? Insider spoke to five Chipotle employees nationwide, all of whom said the hack had to go, with one calling it a "waste of plastic, time, and inventory." As for having to fill all those tiny little side cups, another worker was quoted as saying, "We literally do not have the time for this."

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