Chipotle Mexican Grill is becoming the first restaurant brand to open a virtual location on the popular Roblox video game platform as part of its Halloween promotion.
The quick-service retailer is marking the 21st year of its annual “Boorito” Halloween event by offering a limited-time virtual storefront and maze experience on the global Roblox platform. The experience will go live at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 28 and run through Halloween, Sunday, Oct. 31.
Each day, the first 30,000 Roblox users who visit the cashier in the virtual Chipotle restaurant in costume (on their digital avatar) each day will receive a free burrito code for use on orders placed via Chipotle.com or the Chipotle app at participating Chipotle restaurants in the U.S., with a limit of one free burrito per player. The brand will make $1 million in free burritos available.
In addition, customers will be able to dress their avatars in new Chipotle-inspired costumes, and navigate the “Chipotle Boorito Maze” to unlock exclusive virtual items upon reaching its center. The free entrée codes distributed on Roblox can be redeemed on Chipotle.com and the Chipotle app through Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021. Chipotle's costumes on Roblox, which include a Chip Bag Ghost, Burrito Mummy, Spicy Devil, and Guacenstein, are inspired by popular Chipotle menu items.
This promotion is not Chipotle’s first effort at embracing video games as a means of engaging customers and building loyalty. In June 2021, the retailer introduced a new video game called Chipotle Race to Rewards Exchange. Part of its Chipotle Rewards loyalty program, the interactive racing game challenged players to earn game points and avoid obstacles for a chance to win a 2021 Tesla Model 3 and other prizes.
More broadly, video games are emerging as a mainstream channel for online consumer engagement, and even sales. Pacsun began making branded digital products available for purchase within Roblox in June. In August, Ralph Lauren partnered with the Zepeto global social networking and avatar simulation app to provide customers with a personalized virtual world, including branded digital apparel available for purchase.
And October is “Croctober” at Crocs, featuring digital and in-store activations designed to increase brand engagement and sales. The specialty footwear brand’s 31-day promotional effort includes its first-ever global partnership with Bitmoji, the platform for creating personalized digital avatars. Through this activation, customers have the opportunity to outfit their Bitmoji avatars with digital items.
In other examples, beauty brand Benefit Cosmetics is opening its own channel on the Twitch game streaming platform, and Kenneth Cole Productions debuted a new apparel collection in the casual mobile game “High Heels!”
"As a digital innovator, we are always experimenting on new platforms to meet our guests where they are," said Chris Brandt, chief marketing officer at Chipotle. "Roblox's popularity has boomed over the past year, and we know our fans will be excited to celebrate the next evolution of Boorito in the metaverse."
Chipotle had nearly 2,900 restaurants as of Sept. 30, 2021, in the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, and Germany, and is the only restaurant company of its size that owns and operates all its restaurants.